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.

How to give Jews a bad name. Again

As debate around the power of the Zionist lobby heats up in the US with the recent release of the incendiary book by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, we now have yet more evidence of fundamentally dangerous and undemocratic elements within the Jewish community. First this:

Many university presses in the United States distribute books for publishers from other countries — and vice versa. The University of Michigan has recently discovered that such an arrangement can land a university in the middle of a controversy over a book neither written by one of its professors nor published by its press.

The University of Michigan Press last month halted distribution of Overcoming Zionism, which argues that the creation of Israel was a mistake and urges adoption of the “one state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in which Israelis and Palestinians would form a new country, without a Jewish character. The book was written by Joel Kovel, distinguished professor of social studies at Bard College. The publisher is Pluto Press, a British outfit that describes itself as having a left-wing focus and that publishes books by and for scholars in the social sciences. The University of Michigan Press is the American distributor for Pluto.

Michigan halted distribution last month after “serious questions” were raised about the book by “members of the university community,” according to Kelly Cunningham, a university spokeswoman. Cunningham said that the faculty committee that oversees the press has been reviewing the matter, as well as the relationship between the press and Pluto. An announcement will be forthcoming, perhaps this week, she said. Cunningham stressed that “the expression of diverse points of view on this and other issues is one of the most deeply held values is the university.”

Several pro-Israel blogs have been publishing criticism of Overcoming Zionism, calling it full of “hate speech,” and questioning why the University of Michigan would have any role in its distribution. The Michigan chapter of Stand With Us, a pro-Israel group, has issued a statement calling the book an “unscholarly propaganda text” and complaining that it could not get press officials to say why it was being distributed.

A blog sympathetic to Kovel — Dissident Veteran for Peace — has printed what it says is an e-mail from Pochoda, the press director, to Kovel, explaining why distribution was halted. Pochoda declined to comment on the e-mail, but Kovel said it was accurate. The e-mail reads: “Because it is a distributed title for Pluto Press, no one at UMP had read Overcoming Zionism prior to the Stand/With/Us diatribe. I and others read it after that assault, and had fully expected to gear up for, at least, a free speech defense. Though I had no trouble with the one-state solution your book proposes nor with a Zionist critique, per se … I (and faculty members I asked to read the book, as well) were apalled [sic] by your reckless, viscious [sic], and unmodulated attack on Zionism and all Zionists.

“For us, the issue raised by the book is not free speech but hate speech. Perhaps such vituperative and aggressive rhetoric works for the barricades, but it cannot be countenanced or underwritten by the university or the university press, even in this peripheral, distributed capacity. Even worse for me, as a result of your book, the university is in the process of reassessing our relation as a whole to Pluto (and that has been a four year relationship that I have cherished, both personally and professionally). While that review goes on (and I am only marginally involved), we have ceased shipping Overcoming Zionism.“

In an interview, Kovel called his work “a very carefully reasoned book” and said it was “most certainly not hate speech.” He said that the ideas he supports are “not part of the American discourse, but are much discussed around the world.” To get a flavor of Kovel’s language in talking about Israel, this is a Q&A he did with Briarpatch Magazine about his new book (an interview Kovel said was reflective of his views).

It now appears that common sense has prevailed, for now at least:

The book is back, but the publisher may not be.

The University of Michigan announced late Tuesday that the University of Michigan Press would resume distribution of Overcoming Zionism, a book that calls the creation of Israel a mistake and that prompted several pro-Israel groups to complain to the university about its role in making the available a book they characterized as “hate speech.” The University of Michigan Press stopped distribution last month, following those complaints, and setting off complaints of censorship by others. Michigan was not the publisher, but distributed the book for Pluto Press, a British publisher specializing in leftist social science for an academic audience. The author of the book is Joel Kovel, distinguished professor of social studies at Bard College.

In a statement released by the university, the press Executive Board (a faculty body) said that while it “has deep reservations about Overcoming Zionism, it would be a blow against free speech to remove the book from distribution on that basis. We conclude that we should not fail to honor our distribution agreement based on our reservations about the content of a single book.”

The statement continued: “Such a course raises both First Amendment issues and concerns about the appearance of censorship. As members of the university community dedicated to academic freedom and open debate among differing views, the Executive Board stands firmly for freedom of expression, and against even the appearance of censorship. In this instance, both legal and value considerations lead us to the decision to resume distribution of the book.”

I havn’t read the book in question. From my understanding, however, the author calmly and rationally takes apart the myths of Zionism and calls for a one-state solution. Hardly revolutionary stuff. In fact, if such debates can’t happen in the US, as this controversy seems to suggest, then the thesis, put forward by Mearsheimer/Walt, is proven right yet again. Why are so many Jews utterly afraid of openly discussing the rights and wrongs of Zionism?

one comment ↪
  • Kovel calls for the destruction of Israel.

    It is not the "Zionist thought police," who oppose the book. Rather it is people concerned with Kovel's incendiary hate speech and racism that oppose the University of Michigan being associated with the book.

    Kovel can publish whatever crap he wants. The University of Michigan doesn't have to be associated with it.

    For more on why the book is objectionable, see (the author actually read the book so at least hear him out):

    http://antiracistblog.blogspot.com/2007/09/burton