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.

The Beijing countdown continues

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

It is time for Western human rights activists to pressure China in new ways, writes Antony Loewenstein

With less than one month until the start of the Games, Beijing is trying to make itself more beautiful. Pollution is still rampant but supposedly improving. Ironically, tourism and business travel are down due to the onerous visa restrictions implemented by authorities.

Officials are nervous about what to expect. “It’s like they’re getting ready to throw a great party and then trying to restrain the partygoers,” said Bob Dietz of the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists, who couldn’t get a visa despite 20 years of travelling to China. “They’re not ready to welcome the world.”

Lindsey Hilsum, China Correspondent for Britain’s Channel 4 News, writes that party apparatchiks fail to understand what is truly needed in pleasing an international audience:

“The Chinese government prizes stability above all else, hence the strict instructions to provincial party bosses to ensure that no one with a grievance makes it to Beijing to ‘petition’ during the Games. Any protest would be regarded as a loss of face, an unspeakable embarrassment.

“But the bureaucrats have failed to understand what the rest of the world might regard as a successful Olympics. Quite apart from the sport, people want to have fun. The Sydney Olympics of 2000 are widely regarded as one of the best, because those who didn’t have tickets gathered in parks where they could eat, drink, make merry and watch the events on huge screens. Then they went out and partied. Everyone had a great time.”

Of course, China is not Australia and the comparison is slightly bogus. Chinese society is not conditioned like the West and doesn’t want to be.

In a recently released book, China’s Great Leap, by Minky Worden, the media director at Human Rights Watch, executive director of HRW, Kenneth Roth, asks: “Is there anything that outsiders can possible do to help the people of China change their country?” (One hopes that Roth isn’t suggesting that the West impose its values on a people who probably don’t want them.) He explains his thesis:

“Human rights activists should move beyond simply protesting the suppression of demonstrations or the arrest of lawyers. We should always note that Beijing, by tolerating such repression, is tacitly endorsing the abusive activity that is the subject of protest. Stop farmers demonstrating against the corrupt seizure of their land? That means that Beijing in effect supports seizure. Arrest lawyers challenging environmental degradation? That means that Beijing effectively sides with the polluter. By connecting human rights violations against protestors to the abuses being challenged, human rights activists can refocus popular discontent toward the top, and raise the cost of repression.”

The cost of repression remains alarmingly high. The Communist Party plans to continue terrorising the Tibetans and accepts that “final victory” is far off. Zhang Qingli, the hardline party secretary of Tibet, makes it clear that talks between the Dalai Lama and Beijing are a charade. The London Sunday Times writes:

“Zhang’s words make it plain the talks are a diplomatic mask to conceal China’s actual policy. His speeches, which are remarkably frank, show the government’s chosen response is a classic Marxist-Leninist propaganda and re-education campaign backed up by armed force.”

Despite the internet continuing to stimulate great social change, China faces great challenges ahead, not least the ever-growing gender imbalance, with 37 million more men than women and almost 20 percent more newborn boys than girls nationwide. The result of this in years to come is likely unrest, even greater violence.

Shanghai-based writer Mara Hvistendahl muses on this largely unreported issue:

“…Others are coming up with more practical outlets to exploit China’s new cadre of unstable young bachelors. Two years ago in Nanjing, Jiangsu’s capital, businessman Wu Gang opened the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar in a cheap hotel near the bank of the Yangtze River. The bar featured staples of Chinese entertainment like big-screen karaoke and plates of sunflower seeds but also a central catwalk where, for 100 yuan ($15) per minute, customers paid to assault the waiters, single young migrants from poorer cities to the north. If a customer preferred, his victim would dress in drag. Men “are under too much pressure,” Wu explained to me one day, as the waiters high-kicked Pepsi bottles in the storeroom. “They need a way to release it.”

The August Games are just the beginning of Beijing’s challenges.

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