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.

Democracy is not a foreign word

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

We ignore the diversity of China’s web community at our peril, writes Antony Loewenstein

Is the West afraid of Chinese patriotism? Some Chinese bloggers think it is but remain aware of the ways in which such sentiments could be misunderstood around the world. One wrote:

“…I love the country, and fervently so. But regardless of how passionately patriotic I am, my goal is to see China be able to continue its economic development, social stability, and continuous political reforms so as to keep up with the times…This is what worries me every time I see patriotism rising up again, wondering if it will completely ruin international relations. Will it ruin our economic growth?”

A recent survey indicates that many Asian citizens are sceptical of China’s growing economic and social power. The conductors of the survey wrote: “Clearly, China is recognised by its neighbours as the future leader of Asia, but its rise does not mean US influence is waning.”

Despite these fears, however, the news last week that President Hu Jintao communicated with some of China’s 230 million netizens was a unique example of what few other world leaders would ever do. Can you imagine a US President or Australian Prime Minister spending time online with voters? “Political liberalization” is starting to occur in China.

The regime is undoubtedly parading a schizophrenic face to the world, both talking about freedom during the Beijing Games but also increasingly tightening the censorship screws. And too much of Western criticism of China ignores the role of multinationals such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in the filtering process. Chinese-based firms are now working to assist these companies in managing unruly blog coverage or bad PR.

Of course internet censorship is continuing and there are no signs that this will cease anytime soon. Police brutality is worsening, too. A recent conference in Hong Kong tried to place this phenomenon in context and featured countless speakers who wished the Western media wouldn’t portray the Chinese people as oppressed netizens looking for liberation. There is not one single narrative to describe the Chinese internet experience and although the country maintains the world’s most sophisticated web filtering system, many users are able to debate online far more freely than before the technology’s arrival. In other words, progress is in the eye of the beholder.

On the ground, however, many of China’s citizens are paying a high price for “social harmony.” Tibetans are struggling to cope with “re-education” classes and heightened repression. An ABC reporter was allowed a brief visit this week to witness the shortened torch relay through Lhasa but he was able to gauge little from the stage-managed events. Some journalists are finding a way into restricted lands, such as the Sydney Morning Herald’s Mary-Anne Toy:

“In a meadow of blue and white irises in the nomadic grasslands of Gansu, which along with much of the neighbouring province of Qinghai formed the Tibetan kingdom of Amdo before it became part of China, three young monks arrive for an assignation. They have secretly left the Labrang monastery in Xiahe, the biggest and most influential outside of Lhasa, to meet the Herald.

“’We will never regret what we have done, even if we die, because what we are doing is for the sake of the Tibetan people,’ says one, aged 30.

“They want the return of the Dalai Lama, the release of the 11th Panchen Lama (kidnapped by the Chinese in 1995) and for Tibet to be governed by Tibetans, he says.”

Beijing will be able to navigate its way through the August Games and claim the world vindicated its tough stance against any designated troublemakers. But after the fanfare dies down, China will have experienced a year of almost unparalleled negative press.

Where to from there?

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