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.

Holidays in blogging hell

The following post is by Phil Gomes on one of Australia’s most popular blog sites Larvatus Prodeo:

In The Blogging Revolution Antony Loewenstein takes us on a personal journey through some of the more difficult places in the world to blog. Iran, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China.

It’s a timely book on the importance and necessity of blogging and the open web given recent un-informed opinions by writers like Christian Kerr.

The book is also important in that it more thoroughly expands on ideas expressed in David Burchell’s clumsy opinion piece in the Australian in July of this year where he attempted to contrast the “pseudo-expertise and vituperation” of Western bloggers with their counterparts in the less democratic corners of the world; using Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez as an example.

The most impressive thing about Sanchez is her complete disregard for the bad habits of Western bloggers. She refuses to engage in histrionics, vainglory, pseudo-knowledge or personal posturing. Instead she trades in the gentler arts of allegory and satire.

Sanchez is also mentioned in The Blogging Revolution and Burchell is right. She does not engage in the histrionics of so many Western bloggers (mea culpa) but then again our personal circumstances are different to those that live in repressive states.

Are critics like Burchell and Kerr right? Are non-Western bloggers really better than their western counterparts? Are they less vituperative and undergraduate in their opinion? Does living in an information poor society mean that their views can be nothing more than that of a pseudo-expert? What do non-Western bloggers sound like? The Blogging Revolution gives us a peek behind the government filters.

Throughout the book Loewenstein introduces us to writers like Caesar, an Iraqi blogger he met in Damascus.

Reading his story, we find that Caesar’s father was an officer in Saddam’s army who fought the Americans in the 1991 Gulf War, but as Caesar states, “my father wasn’t fighting for Saddam, he was fighting for his country” – that kind of distinction comes up repeatedly in different contexts throughout the book.

We also hear that Caesar was a bought man when it came to supporting the American invasion and had even worked for them as a translator for a time before fearing for his life as a collaborator. This soon saw him and his family leave for the relatively safer confines of Syria.

From Caesars and many Iraqi’s perspective, who wouldn’t want to see Saddam overthrown? All media was under state control there was no real ability to openly express your frustrations and views on your society or even to write about that girl you liked.

Similar to many Western bloggers, Caesar writes about issues of both a personal and political nature, his blog covers sexual politics as much as political events, in fact his blog is titled “In Iraq, sex is like snow”.

Is this vituperation and an undergraduate tone, Iraqi style?

As a result Caesar has an online reputation as some kind of “sex maniac”, an odd description given that he is a self described virgin. Then again context is everything and in his world he just may be someones sex maniac.

Caesar also uses his writing to describe what his country looks like, or should look like. In his case it shows what a liberal Iraqi looks like and if blogging is anything at all it’s liberal; in the freewheeling unmediated sense of the word. And while he may be far less freewheeling than many of his Western blogging counterparts his writing is probably no less confronting to the Burchell’s and Kerr’s of his world.

As Loewenstein states:

Blogging was almost invented for people like Caesar. It is unpretentious, revealing and transparent about daily life – and thankfully doesn’t require a tentative editor the explicitness or rawness of the material. Hearing about his displacement in Syria and longing for his homeland made me feel ashamed of our culpability in the Iraq disaster. Those in power in the west have taken no responsibility the effects of their actions, as if the tragedy was a natural disaster over which they have no control. Without his blog Caesar’s eloquence in the face of such horrors would never have been seen or heard.

Not being seen nor heard is another one of the recurring themes in The Blogging Revolution, outside of a few star non-western bloggers adopted by the mainstream media we have not heard from many others in the growing mass of bloggers in places like Syria and Iran, why? Is it because these voices don’t subscribe entirely to our mainstream media’s political view of the way the world ought to work?

I’m not alone in thinking our mainstream media would better serve us by airing the views of an Iranian female writer who identified as a Muslim secular atheist than that of Lindsay Lohan, but then again why not cut out the increasingly untrustworthy middleman and head right to the source, it is a media revolution after all.

Make no mistake, many of the non-Western bloggers and writers portrayed in the book want much of what we have but on their terms. A thought repeatedly expressed in the book is that they want these things at a different pace, one determined by them, not one forced on them from the outside without their overwhelming approval and they want these things to fit naturally into their specific cultural and political contexts.

At the moment we have the luxury of not having to negotiate our writing through levels of cultural and/or state based censorship, though we do have to deal with attempts at muting our voices through all too regular opinion pieces like Burchell’s and Kerr’s – opinions that seek to denigrate and deny us a growing legitimacy that they would like to preserve for themselves.

There was a quote early in the book which came from a prominent Iranian Shia cleric who recognised the power of the open web and blogging by saying, ‘blogging due to it’s very nature, has the capacity to nurture the spirit of vulgarity….[and is] a destructive plague’.

In this at least, Western mainstream media blog critics like Burchell and Kerr are not too dissimilar to an Iranian cleric or Cuban despot in recognising the inherent power of blogging and the voices it contains. Their motives? To maintain an economic market share not a religious or political one, though sometimes political motives are not to be discounted.

The Blogging Revolution is about introducing us to a different and difficult blogging world but Antony Loewenstein has also succeeding in produced a highly readable addition in the ongoing blogging and open media wars.

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