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.

Time for a change of government

The Australian federal election is tomorrow. I’ve deliberately not commented greatly about it – aside from this piece about the possibility of a Labor government supporting a US-strike on Iran and the occasional article about the major parties’ slavish attention to Israel – so a few words are in order.

The nearly 12 years of the Howard government has caused the country to lose its moral compass – a position I share with former Prime Minister Paul Keating, though it’s sickening to read a man who cozied up to former Indonesian dictator Suharto talk about ethics – through the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the treatment of refugees as cannon fodder, gross exaggeration of the terror threat to ram through draconian legislation and blind support for the rogue, Jewish state. Some of these issues resonate with voters, and many do not. These are my personal feelings.

It’s hard to be inspired with the likely win of Kevin Rudd when he talks about being tough against boat people. Rudd seems to me to be a dull technocrat who acts like a robot when appearing in public. No passion or true conviction, though he surely has both. Robert Manne, a leading critic of the Howard years, is right when he argues today that the current government has been a master at wedge politics, causing fear in the community and highlighting divisions along racial lines. This should be reason alone to change government.

For much of the last decade, I’ve regularly been ashamed to call myself an Australian, especially when travelling the world and being asked why our government has walked so closely with the Bush administration on a host of issues, from war to climate change. Sadly, Australian leaders have rarely been able to say “no” when Washington comes knocking.

As a fierce critic of Howard for many years, I’ve rarely been inspired by the Labor opposition. On many issues, they are little different to the Liberals, though with perhaps softer edges on some issues, like industrial relations. In terms of foreign affairs, I fear that Rudd would be as pathetically in thrall to America and its priorities. As a middle-ranking power, joining illegal wars for the “sake of the alliance” is a bogus reason and fundamentally short-sighted. Iraq was such a war. Iran could be.

Many of my friends support the Labor party and believe it will bring change in the social fabric of the country. Perhaps, but I doubt it. They see a party how they wish it was, rather than how it truly is.

I desperately want a change of government tomorrow, and I guess that therefore means a Rudd win. I will not be voting for him, however. I will, as I have done now for many years, support the Greens, a party not without its faults, but one that generally believes in principle over pragmatism. Morality does matter in public life, especially when we see how it can be so corrupted. Much of the mainstream media is supporting a Rudd government, but I can’t help but think this is more about wanting to back a winner, rather than truly believing Labor has a better team. The Murdoch broadsheet especially regularly talks about ideology but this is always a cover for maintaining power at any cost. Hence its endorsement of Rudd today.

The role of journalists should be to challenge and counter establishment power, not endorse it. There are notable exceptions. It is for this reason that we can only hope that a change of government, if it happens, brings a modicum of decency back to Australian political life.

The media elite are probably too far gone for true reform.

one comment ↪
  • Leo Braun


    • Tony Kevin: "I wonder how many people feel as I do – that the removal of Howard from power will mean the disappearance from our public life of a truly evil man who has done great harm to our country's values. A man who has presided over the official creation of enormous human misery. I cannot view this election in the way I would have viewed any of the previous Australian election battles – eg, Keating vs Hewson, Fraser vs Hawke, Whitlam vs McMahon, Menzies vs Calwell"!

    "To me, this election is qualitatively different. It is, simply, the battle of good vs evil. A man who did so much to debase Australian integrity, besides turning us into a compliant tributary state of the USA, and betraying our sovereignty in all kinds of other important ways, will soon be gone. Thank God. I don't know if my "Don's Party" will be a boozy celebration or a giving-thanks prayer meeting – perhaps a bit of both, like an Irish wake. But it is going to be a special night for me"!

    • Julie Macken: "In what may be the dying days of the Coalition Government, it is easy to see John Howard as an old man with his best days behind him – cranky and frazzled perhaps – but an old bloke doing his best [to massage Zionist egos]. It is easy to lose sight of the Australia [as] he has done so much to create [the police state]. Lest we forget"!

    • Dazza: "John Winston Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, is a monster! His Ministers are all monsters. His backbench, with a few honorable exceptions, are also monsters. One has to wonder how the 'Liberal party of Australia' got to this? Look no further than its very beginnings, actually! Howard is mean, tricky, dishonorable, nasty, conniving and ruthless. Tells porkies as if he was born that way, maybe he was! Has absolutely no compassion for human beings. His whole 'rule' has been pointed to making life more miserable for the disadvantaged, weak and those unwanted by the Right Wing commentariat and unfortunately, the vast bulk of the 'great unwashed'; while giving the rich and powerful more and more of what they want"!

    "I really do wonder at the thinking of those in Australia who see nothing, hear nothing, that alters their incredible belief system that Howard is a 'good person'. Surely this must indicate that they are very much like-minded with Howard and his thugs. Which goes to show that Rudd may be on the right track (pander to the worst in Australians and they may well vote for you). Howard has shown the way now for the last 11.5 long terrible years. No, I am not proud to be an Australian! How could I be? And if I could, I would also attend a party giving great thanks that this man and his minions have been defeated and sent to the dust bin of history; but I would also be mindful that the winner is tarred with the same brush, whether by his own hand, or otherwise"!

    • Willy Bach: "To say the least, the practises of the Howard government are shameful to Australians and repugnant to humanity. The Howard Ministry, especially Phillip Ruddock should be tried for crimes against humanity or comparable charges and if found guilty, should be punished with the full weight of the law. I would like to see an emphatic statement of condemnation for these well-documented violations of human rights and international law. There must be a Royal Commission into these crimes and, if the Commission finds there is a case to answer, proceedings should be commenced to bring several or all members of the Howard government to justice"!

    • Douglas Jones: "People are ciphers, so is the electorate which given the correct spin … is off in fear and trembling. Did Saddam have WMD? No. Was he a threat to America and neighbours – probably not. At least the Downing street Memo leaked to the British press May 1, 2005 (and reluctantly by a few media outlets in Australia) claimed Saddam was no threat but the propaganda was made to fit the aim, invasion (bugger the UN we gave that up long ago, except for fell good nappy changes)"!

    "Mind you it could be different, we have all the sweet talk the ideals, so loved by all. So long as we don't need to do more than listen to our leaders. Naturally the big boys had to be allowed a veto, and naturally they used it not in furtherance of human wellbeing but of 'realist foreign policy'. So okay several were butchered, denied protection promised! So what, grow up! The terrorist mess is largely of our making and we 'need to protect ourselves', else the polis might have some questions asked. Why did America invade"?

    • Famie: "I do dont understand the surprise at the horrific treatment of refugees under the charge of this government. Australia has a long and sordid history when it comes to treating people whom they consider outsiders. I have lived here for forty years and can see very little change in its racist policies from the indigenous population to the present refugees. We are after all a former colony of an imperial [zionist] nation and have repeated their abuses. If you don't believe me just take a look at a recent film of Glasgow 'The Red Road' and it will show you quite clearly the social breakdown in what was supposedly one of the richest empires in human history. An empire [of zion] built on the backs of the poor nationals as well as the poor colonials. Not much has changed"!

    • Howard's Australia: The Bureaucratisation of Evil …