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.

Dissent with a Chinese face

My following article appears in the Amnesty International Australia’s Uncensor campaign about human rights in China:

The Olympic Games will show the world a different kind of China, writes Antony Loewenstein

During last weekend’s Chinese Internet Research Conference in Hong Kong, Hu Yong, Associate Professor at Peking University, said that after the Sichuan earthquake, many people initially started watching TV instead of the internet, but a group of civilian reporters quickly emerged.

Zhang Dong-Sheng, Editor-in-chief of, argued that the earthquake reaffirmed the ability of the Chinese press to act like real journalists, but there were still a lot of restrictions.

Zhai Minglei, Editor-in-chief of 1 Bao, said that fear is what holds the Great Firewall together. A poll by even found great Chinese dissatisfaction with their rulers. Furthermore, a recent study of Chinese bloggers reveals that they are more likely to criticise the status quo than the state-run press. Solidarity is no longer possible.

These developments are undoubtedly signs of progress in China. The debate may have been happening in Hong Kong, but authorities in Beijing are increasingly aware of the cultural shifts that the earthquake triggered. Local journalists are now being encouraged to avoid writing pieces about collapsed schools and grieving parents and instead focus on “heart-warming stories”. Officials are tolerating little dissent from the party line.

The impending Olympic Games is revealing this typically close-minded attitude of Beijing towards the foreign media. These issues receive little press in China itself, of course. According to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily, thousands of Chinese parents are currently naming their newborn babies, “Aoyun” (“Olympic Games”), challenging the once-popular “Defend China” and “Celebrate the Nation.”

The New York Times editorialised last week and expressed its displeasure towards the regime’s despotism (something likely to only convince authorities that the West believes it has the right to meddle in China’s affairs):

“There’s an inherent contradiction between China’s desire to invite the world to the Olympics and its effort to deny those [foreign] visitors — and its own people — the most basic freedoms. Last week, an I.O.C. official said he is convinced the Games would be a “force for good” in China. The committee and Western governments need to remind Beijing that the world is watching, and so far the picture isn’t good.”

The allegation by Washington lawmakers that their computers were hacked by forces inside China will only worsen the relationship between Beijing and America. Interestingly, this report appeared at around the same time:

“National security agencies are warning businesses and federal officials that laptops and e-mail devices taken to the Beijing Olympics are likely to be penetrated by Chinese agents aiming to steal secrets or plant bugs to infiltrate U.S. computer networks.”

The profound mistrust between China and the West is unlikely to improve in the run-up to the Games. For those outside Beijing’s inner elite, dissent is certainly growing and the internet is the perfect vehicle to express it. Writer intellectual Hu Ping explains:

“…Ever since the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 4, 1989, a chasm has emerged between the thinking of the establishment and that of regular Chinese and the growing number of dissidents. It is hard to accept what intellectuals ‘in good standing’ with the state and the party have to say: Are they being truthful, or are they merely acting as mouthpieces for the establishment?”

What Beijing will never fully counter is the legitimate challenge to its rule in places like Tibet (as the Dalai Lama said during his recent visit to Australia.) Like other imperial powers such as Russia and America, Beijing refuses to hear alternative voices when provoked.

For those who of us who welcome Washington’s declining fortunes in the world in the years since September 11, 2001, China’s rise brings a new set of challenges. Colonialism is never transparent and the Beijing Games is sadly proving the sceptics right. As speakers contemplated at last weekend’s Chinese Internet Research Conference, one blogger described the current situation in this way:

“The defining atmosphere on the Chinese internet is one of political ideology. Not to the degree of the Mao era. This is the capitalist information age. The problem, though, is that everything that you do see on the Chinese internet is ideologically correct.”

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