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.

In bed with Mugabe

My following article appears in today’s ABC Unleashed:

The recent rigged election in Zimbabwe has highlighted the impotence of the international community. Bloggers and activists continue to emphasise the need for President Robert Mugabe to relinquish his hold on power, a position shared by Washington.

But not unlike the Burmese uprising in 2007 that saw China maintain a close relationship with the military junta, Mugabe enjoys the patronage of the Chinese regime. It is the kind of bond that increasingly defines global affairs.

Although a Chinese ship laden with weapons is headed for Zimbabwe and faces difficulties in unloading its cargo, Mugabe knows that, along with numerous other dictators, the rising superpower views its natural resources as a boon to be mutually shared.

The International Herald Tribune explained in 2005:

“While the talk is of democracy sweeping the [African] continent, some experts believe that China’s rising influence in Africa may power its blend of free-market dictatorship, particularly among African leaders already reluctant to turn over power democratically.

“‘We might see the Chinese political system appealing to a lot of states whose elites and regimes are more in line with that sort of thinking,’ said Chris Maroleng, a Zimbabwe expert at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. ‘It’s really a conflict of two systems, one based on regime security and the other, almost Western, which talks of human security – good governance and human rights.'”

Although China’s standards for trading are undoubtedly different to the West’s, it’s a delusion to presume that Washington, London, Australia and Europe solely engage on the basis of ensuring admirable human rights. America’s unyielding backing of Saudi Arabia – one of the most brutal dictatorships in the Middle East – is but one example of greed coming before women’s equality.

The Independent recently reported that Chinese troops were seen on the streets of Zimbabwe in a clear sign of unity with the Mugabe regime. The paper articulated that the world should get used to this new kind of colonialism:

“As for Mr Mugabe, he marked Zimbabwean Independence Day yesterday by complaining of neo-colonialism and how Britain wants to retake control of Zimbabwe. He and other African leaders should think more carefully. There is a danger of their countries becoming a victim of a re-colonisation. But the threat is not from the West. It comes from the East.”

The inherent fear in the current debate revolves around the declining influence of America during the Bush years, something that I welcome. Although the country remains capable of shaping events far better than any other, the calamitous Iraq war proves that resistance to America’s imperial designs is growing. Countless books are being written that discount Washington’s power in the world, a premature stance. Mark Leonard, author of What Does China Think?, argues that the “China Model” is attractive because America’s policies have becoming annoyingly intrusive:

“Where American policy-makers champion the Washington Consensus, the Chinese talk about the success of gradualism and the ‘Harmonious Society’. Where the USA is bellicose, Chinese policy-makers talk about peace. Whereas American diplomats talk about regime change, their Chinese counterparts talk about respect for sovereignty and the diversity of civilizations.”

Although this is an overly simplistic explanation, a vast number of dictators find its message highly appealing. Author Ian Buruma writes that, “a dogmatic insistence on isolating dictators, such as the Burmese junta, does little to oust them, and actually diminishes America’s influence.”

Intriguingly, many Western commentators who insist on challenging China’s global rise are strong supporters of Washington-led military projection. It’s as if they wish citizens of repressive nations would look at the last eight years of American foreign policy and see nothing other than benign invasions and occupation. Recent polling in the Middle East finds public opinions towards the superpower has fallen since 2006.

This is neither an argument to ignore the plight of the Zimbabwean people nor simply calls to acquiesce in the rise of a values-free foreign policy. It is vital, however, to critically analyse our own global worldview, and improve it, before passing harsh judgement on China’s undoubted appetite for natural resources.

How else can we explain our kow-towing to Saudi King Abdullah? “The sad, awful truth,” wrote Robert Fisk in 2007, “is that we fete these people, we fawn on them, we supply them with fighter jets, whisky and whores.”

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