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.

Is the anti-Hamas policy sustainable?

Much is being made of the support Israel, the West and pliant Arab regimes are giving to Fatah and Abbas. The problem with this arrangement is that it is totally unsustainable.

The Arab regimes are not so naive as to buy into the notion that Hamas can be excluded from Palestinian political life — it is the elected government, and speaks for close to half of the Palestinian population. In the last Palestinian election, it thrashed Fatah not only in Gaza, but also in most of the major West Bank towns and cities. While rallying against its armed takeover in Gaza, what the Arabs are demanding is that Hamas recognize the authority of President Abbas (which, by the way, Hamas has done, even since taking power in Gaza — it is Abbas’s side that has the greater problem recognizing the legitimacy and authority of Hamas as an elected government). The Arabs are making very clear that their goal is to revive the Mecca Agreement that brought Hamas and Fatah together in a unity government. That remains a plausible goal, not least because Hamas has indicated a similar goal — although the politicking will be tough and it is unlikely that the same Fatah warlords who, with the backing of the U.S., refused to submit to the unity agreement last time would do so this time. Still, the basic message of the Arabs is that Hamas must be brought back within the umbrella of Palestinian unity; they know it can’t be defeated through isolation and repression.

This position is of course utterly rejected by Israel and the West. The last thing they want to see is unity between Hamas and Fatah.

The U.S. and Israel, of course, insist that Hamas must be isolated and that there can be no revival of the Mecca agreement. At U.S. prodding, Israel has agreed to release some of the Palestinian Authority finances it has withheld, and Prime Minister Olmert says he’ll release some 250 Fatah prisoners although none with “blood on their hands” — i.e. no Marwan Barghouti, the only Fatah leader capable of reversing the movement’s precipitous decline.

Ultimately, the matter comes down to the same issues that have always plagued the Arab/Israeli conflict. No amount of support from Israel and the West is going to make this issue go away without being resolved.

And even as the Arab states demand that Israel begin moving towards final-status negotiations with Abbas based on a return to 1967 borders, Olmert has signaled he has no interest in even opening such talks any time soon.

So, the latest U.S. plan is on a familiar hiding to nothing, precisely because it fails to address the basic problem: Hamas defeated Fatah because Fatah had proved itself unable to end the occupation; the Arab regimes and the Fatah leaders know that the only way they can be revived and strengthened is for Fatah’s path of engagement with the West and Israel to show results, i.e. concrete steps to end the occupation; but Israel has no intention of taking steps now to end its occupation of the West Bank — together with the U.S., it is essentially expecting Abbas and Fatah to police the status quo. Which is what got them into trouble in the first place.

Let’s just say that the best thing Hamas has going for it right now is the limits on how far the American and Israelis are prepared to go in addressing Palestinian national rights.

While the West will simply turn a blind eye to Gaza, Israel will turn the territory into an even greater cesspool of suffering and oppression, and the remaining Palestinians Bantustans in the West Bank will continue to shrink.

The Gaza Strip is “an independent state” just like any prison cell is: a hermetically sealed cage, overpopulated by 1.3 million people; no sea port or airport; no control over its own borders, waters, or airspace; even its population database, not to mention water, food, electricity, gasoline, and medical equipment, are all strictly controlled by Israel.And as for the West Bank, it’s enough to look at its recent map prepared by the UN to understand why no Palestinian state can emerge there: notice how the small area was pulverized into numerous tiny cages for humans, separated by Israeli settlements, fences, roadblocks, and checkpoints. Cages for non-Jewish humans only, mind you; Jews move around freely in their (whose?) land.

So the question that remains is, what does Israel and the West hope to gain by propping up Fatah?

In a matter of days, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas turned from an unreliable foe to a precious friend. All of a sudden the boycott against the Palestinians was lifted, Israel unfroze Palestinian tax money, and Abu Mazen was promised a generous package of Israeli gestures and invited to a leaders’ summit.

And why does Abbas suddenly deserve all that? As a reward for his most impressive success: namely, losing Gaza to Hamas forces. Fatah’s defeat in Gaza was allegedly unexpected; Israel and the U.S. wanted to help Abu Mazen but their aid came too little or to late, and Israel finally realized that it was time to save the Palestinian non-Islamist national movement by making peace with its moderate leader. And we are supposed to believe all that.

We have seen this situation before, in the early 1990s. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands with Yassir Arafat just as the latter was about to end his career as an irrelevant old leader enjoying a good life in Tunisian exile. Arafat was fighting for his survival; Israel knew it very well. Leaders just about to be forgotten, or, as in Abbas’ case, just about to be thrown out of the window of the 15th floor, are excellent partners for colonialist regimes.

That’s precisely what Israel is looking for in the West Bank: a ruthless, weak, and hated partner, fighting against its own people for survival and relying on Israel rather than facing it.

All these measures have just one objective in common: strengthening the Fatah militia and enabling it to crush any opposition. Fatah’s hysteria should now turn it into an Israeli proxy, dependent on Israel to survive, serving Israel’s interests, and using ever more violence against the Palestinian opposition, which happened to win the democratic elections. Forget removal of roadblocks, let alone of outposts and settlements; forget work permits in Israel; forget freedom, of movement or otherwise; forget a Palestinian state. The occupation is here to stay.

In other words, the West and Israel is simply applying the bromide of supporting a tyrant to repress the masses. It turns out that these people aren’t really fans of democracy after all.

4 comments ↪
  • The Arab regimes are not so naive as to buy into the notion that Hamas can be excluded from Palestinian political life

    I think this is exactly what the Arab regimes do buy into. They see the Islamists as their greatest foe. It's not that they want reconciliation between Hamas and Fateh, but for Hamas to be squeezed so hard in Gaza that they accept Abbas.

    The question is will the the Arab regimes survive their continued barracking of a hopeless strategy in the OTs.

  • Andre

    I beg to differ Michael. The Arab regimes see the population as their greatest foe and fear groups likes the Muslim Brotherhood because they represent the greatest challenge to their power. Fatah has no credibility whatsoever in the Arab world and by throwing their support behind them, the regimes only expose themselves to greater condemnation from their critics.

  • Yes, and I think that is why they don't want to see Hamas leading the fight for a free Palestine. I think they will settle for a Hamas being involved as long as they are subservient to Abbas and maintain a policy of politely asking the US/Israel if they wouldn't mind terribly if Israel would vouchsafe them some kind of 'state' "with aspects of sovereignty", as the Road Map puts it.

  • viva peace

    Palestinian "life?" ROFLMAO. Wretched dole bludgers. Why don't they hurry up? The virgins are waiting.