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 Blogging Revolution: from Iran to Cuba

My following interview by Hamid Tehrani for Global Voices was published today:

Antony Loewenstein, a Sydney-based freelance journalist and blogger, has recently published his new book: The Blogging Revolution. This book talks about the impact of blogging on six countries: Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Cuba.

He says:

I chose the six countries in the book because they are routinely referred to in the West as “enemies” or “allies” of Washington and we were rarely gaining true insights into life for average citizens, away from stories about “terrorism”. I wanted to talk to bloggers, writers, dissidents, politicians and citizens and hear their stories, removed from “official” perspectives.

Antony attended the Global Voices Summit 2008 in Budapest as a panelist. You can find several references to Global Voices in his book.

I interviewed him about the book:

Q: Before starting your trip to Iran, you wrote that you were skeptical that the internet on its own can bring real revolutionary change to this country. What do you mean by revolutionary change? And what do you think now?

The concept of revolution is a fluid term. I met few people in my travels that wanted great shifts in their country. My book profiles a number of dissidents and bloggers across the globe who are striving for political, social and moral change – including Saudi Arabia’s most famous blogger, Fouad Al-Farhan, recently released from prison for challenging his nation’s nepotistic rule – but they recognize that only a tiny minority of citizens would join them in massive upheavals.

The internet cannot on its own bring large change, but it can facilitate and empower people to find their voice and campaign openly. No technology has existed before the web to do this. I don’t idealise the internet, nor believe Western-style democracy is the goal of people in the countries I visited. Foreign meddling is largely resented, though opening up the lines of communication with Westerners is welcomed.

In Iran, after nearly thirty years of revolution, most young people I met were exhausted; what they don’t want is to be bombed by the US or Israel.

Q: You quoted an Iranian journalist who worked with international news agencies, and said that foreign media in Iran are only interested in nuclear issues and Al–Qaida. Don’t you think it is the same in other countries? After all, Iranians are more interested in the US elections than the American health care system. How do you see the role of blogs in covering the less “hot” issues in Iran?

Western media is currently in a massive crisis of confidence. Resources are declining, fewer journalists are being employed and localism is being celebrated. It’s therefore not surprising, though regrettable, that so many stories in our press about a place such as Iran is obsessed with Ahmadinejad, terrorism, Iraq or human rights. These are all vitally important issues, but they don’t define the place.

My book reveals a side of Iran that is rarely seen in our terrorism-obsessed media.

Living in Sydney, Australia, I see daily the obsession with the US election, as if we all have real influence over Barack Obama or John McCain’s campaigns.

Blogs in so-called repressive regimes cover issues that time-constrained and narrow Western journalists usually do not. For this reason alone, they should be discussed and promoted.

Q: Are there any real commonalities between the Iranian, Egyptian, Syrian and Saudi Arabian blogospheres, or any radical differences?

The Iranian and Egyptian blogospheres are large and growing, and influencing the political process. The regimes, recognizing this, are increasingly imprisoning bloggers and activists to try and silence them. International solidarity, from other bloggers and certain governments, is making the job of repressive regimes more difficult. Imprisoned bloggers won’t be forgotten.

I was impressed with the depth and diversity of the voices in both Egypt and Iran, something I feature extensively in the book, from the left to the right, women, activists and Islamists. Frankly, this scene is far more engaged than in many Western nations.

In Saudi Arabia, the blogosphere is less developed though still remains active. Censorship of “pornographic” sites is limited, though the regime is starting to fear the power of activists. Reading female bloggers – as a gender they’re actively marginalized in society – is refreshing if we want to understand this previously “silenced” group.

Q: What were the biggest challenges you faced writing this book and doing your research?

Gaining full access to some of the countries was challenging. Investigating the role of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other Western multinational firms and their collusion in web censorship in a state such as China. Protecting my sources was equally important. I took precautions before I contacted bloggers in most countries and when I arrived there.

A key aim of the book was to move away from the traditional role of Western journalist as a filter of quality. In every featured country, my perspective is unavoidable, of course, but I was determined to redefine my position in relation to the people I was interviewing. Their voices were far more important than mine.

Q: What do you think about the role of Global Voices in helping people learn about unheard voices? Any ideas for how to make Global Voices more efficient?

The strength of Global Voices is its ability to educate readers across the world about different countries and cultures, often issues and perspectives ignored by the myopic Western media. Language remains a key problem, however. More effort should be placed into finding connections between the West and the rest because the internet is currently a space where these two worlds rarely interact.

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