Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

Getting connected

My following article appeared in yesterday’s Guardian Comment is Free section:

Cuba is the least technologically connected country in Latin America, falling way behind in mobile phone and internet penetration. The Castro regime has blamed the long-standing US embargo for the communication restrictions – and must utilise satellite technology as a result – but the situation is far more complicated than the government likes to publicly admit. For example, Cubans are required to obtain a permit to buy a computer or subscribe to an ISP, therefore making regular contact with the outside world a virtual impossibility for the vast majority of citizens.

During a recent visit to the island, I discovered that although access to the internet has improved since a crackdown in 2004, some Cubans are frustrated by their government’s unwillingness to allow unfettered access to the web. Many young Cubans can use an intranet with an email address and government-approved websites, but this is hardly a replacement for the real thing. One student in Havana, who was studying IT and the internet, told me that he and his friends were increasingly angry that the authorities did not allow them to experience the web in its unfiltered glory.

I met Felix at the Iranian embassy in Havana. He was in his 50s and had spent most of his life teaching at a local university. He left a few years ago because the pay was poor and he needed to better support his family. Felix lamented the lack of a free press in his country and the ways in which the internet – something he had seen a few times with former university friends – was routinely blocked and restricted. “Life for us is very tough”, he told me. He resented the ruling elite who dictated policy to the masses while enjoying complete personal freedom themselves.

The last 12 months have seen a tightening of control over the Cuban population, partly due to Fidel’s sickness and a fear of American meddling. Marc Frank, Reuters correspondent in Cuba, told me that, “the two main security issues for the government are cell phones and the internet”, as they allow citizens access to information away from prying authorities. He rightly acknowledged that internet access wasn’t a priority for most Cubans – more basic needs such as employment took precedence – but it was a political ticking time-bomb. The rise of hip-hop culture amongst the Cuban youth, and the appropriation of US-style gangsta rap, is leading to an increased taste for what globalisation has to offer. The internet is integral to these new desires. Despite this, I could find no regular bloggers based in Cuba.

Fidel was undoubtedly respected by large swathes of the population, but the mood for change is palpable. Neither US-style capitalism nor Chavez-inspired socialism may be right, but the inevitable passing of Fidel will probably see at least slight democratic openings.

Any nation that believes in the rule of law and democracy must guarantee freedom of the press, freedom of association and freedom of speech. Cuba is not currently that country. Decades of pointless US interventions and an over-zealous Miami community have brought Cuba to the point of economic ruin. None of these facts, however, excuse the inability of the Castro regime to enter the ranks of modern, open nations. Many governments are routinely filtering “subversive” websites in an attempt to protect their autocratic rule. They are fighting a battle that they can never win.

one comment ↪
  • gottcha

    Internet and Intranet are common nouns and should be capitalised.