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.

Our democracy isn’t the cure-all

Prominent UK blogger Norman Geras, both pro Iraq war and Tony Blair, is a little confused about the non-Western world. He wrote the following a few days ago (in relation to my book The Blogging Revolution):

If there’s a half-baked notion out there somewhere about the West’s comparative disadvantage relative to some other places, you can bet it’ll turn up before long in the liberal press. Welcome to Media Guardian, Antony Loewenstein. He’s just come from telling us how ‘in repressive states, blogs and websites have become essential sources of information on topics… routinely shunned by channels for official propaganda’, when he throws in the obligatory detrimental comparison – detrimental, that is, to us lot:

These openings for citizens in the non-western world to be heard are far more empowering than the equivalent outlets in our own societies. But how often do we hear these voices in the west?

September 11, for example, should have been the perfect opportunity for the western media to listen to the grievances of the Muslim world. Alas, with notable exceptions, indigenous voices were excluded then and still remain largely absent from the pages of the world’s leading papers.

I suppose that ‘with notable exceptions’ saves Loewenstein from the inconvenience that the grievances of the Muslim world have been rather widely aired in Western media. But consider what you have to come up with in order to explain why the same facilities that empower people in repressive states seem to be smothered by a suffocating cushion of media inattention or bias in democratic societies. Could there be a conspiracy? Or perhaps some very sophisticated method of thought-control which those repressive states haven’t yet figured out how to use?

Geras, like so many supposed intellectuals since 9/11, simply assume that Western culture and media are superior to the rest of the world. It doesn’t even enter their heads that there may be profound issues with the ways in which our media operates and reports on the rest of the globe. Being “complicit enablers” of state power, in the words of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, isn’t viewed as a problem.

Living in the UK or any Western world is a privilege in terms of opportunities, but as I point out in my book, despite the serious restrictions and censorship, the online communities in places like Egypt and Iran are probably far more engaged in the political process than a country such as Britain.

But then, Geras wouldn’t really know that; he only reads about these places in the mainstream media.

3 comments ↪
  • Bob-B

    You say Geras 'only reads about these places [Egypt and Iran] in the mainstream media'. How do you know this?

  • Tim

    "September 11, for example, should have been the perfect opportunity for the western media to listen to the grievances of the Muslim world. Alas, with notable exceptions, indigenous voices were excluded then and still remain largely absent from the pages of the world’s leading papers."

    I seem to remember a rather lengthy and intensive debate on the desirability of coexistence with the most brazen killer of Muslims of the post-1945 period. I seem to remember reading a lot from Iraqis — "indigenous voices", I suppose you'd call them — who were desperate to get rid of Saddam. They had quite a few "grievances", I must say!

    Alas, I don't seem to remember Antony Loewenstein having much to say about them. Odd.

  • Inna

    I rather take my cue on the whole issue of whether democracy is a good thing from Winston Churchill: "Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

    I also note that "supposed intellectual" Geras' grammar is quite superior to yours.

    Perhaps he took a few course in Imperialist English whereas you spent your time protesting against the imperialism and supposed intellectualism of the English language?

    Regards,

    Inna