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 Committee to Protect Bloggers on my book

The following review of The Blogging Revolution is published by the Committee to Protect Bloggers:

I told Antony Loewenstein well over a month ago that I would review his book, “The Blogging Revolution.” I’ve put it off not because the book’s no good but because I simply hate reviewing books. It takes forever and, if you’re a freelancer, pays crap. I’ve found various ways of getting around it before, primarily by rambling on without end, as with this review of “Muslims in Spain” on my personal blog.

This time, however, I’m going to try an ongoing review. That is, I am going to expand the review as I go through the book. Each time I write, I will be registering my impressions. Some of those impressions will be qualified, even contradicted, by further reading. Others will not. Not ideal, perhaps, though in keeping with the spirit of blogging, I think. Hopefully, the discussion in the comments will also be extended due to the form. Plus, both Antony as the writer and you as readers will actually get a review out of the deal.

A couple of introductory comments. As far as I know it is the first book on the topic of repression of bloggers. That alone would make it an important book. It’s also got a very cool cover. Antony I met long before he even had the idea for this book and was interested to watch the idea, and then the reality, develop. To know more about Antony, who is an Australian writer and journalist, check out his blog, Antony Loewenstein.

I have to confess straight out to a certain trepidation about the book. Antony’s first is the controversial “My Israel Question,” which I think could be described as a book by a Jewish anti-Zionist. The gravity that things like this book can sometimes produce however, attracts, in addition to critical thinkers, those with a rather problematic relationship to Jews. I’m talking less about anti-Semites than about disengenous anti-Israelis whose racism is couched in an objection to racism, much as some European politicians condone intolerance out of a worshipful relationship to tolerance.

I’m telling you this not to slap Antony upside the head, but so that you can tack your own sails against the direction of my wind if you feel it necessary.

OK, back to the book in question. To write it Antony researched a great deal. He was a blogger to begin with so already had a relationship with the technology, the communication strategy and some of the players. To write it, he visited Iran, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China. This is also, chapterwise, how he organized the book.

Introduction.

The thing that irritates me about the introduction, something which I have already seen in everything from blog posts to radio reports on the “progressive” side of the spectrum, is this notion that repression of bloggers in countries like Cuba has the following qualities.

  • The United States (gasp!) is responsible for it
  • It’s not so bad as The Man would have us believe
  • The people in repressive countries are not bad

That the U.S. has an effect on the world is beyond question, but one thing I never see is an expose on how the vast power of the country is responsible for, say, South African music, or love. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. If the U.S. is responsible for everything, then it’s responsible for everything. And that includes French cinema and dim sum.

To the second and third points, I’m sure there are some people who believe that because Iran’s governing cadre is mostly creepy tyrants, for example, so are its people. But I don’t think there are many. It does make sense to ask the question, however, how much do the people in a given country believe in the philosophy of information their governments express? I think it’s vital to any exploration of repression.

Now, one of the main focii in the introduction is on the role of Western (really, American) companies in providing both the technology of repression as well as the strategy for it. From Google to Microsoft, Cisco to Smart Computing to Facebook, American Internet and social media companies have enthusiastically and repeatedly effected the repression of citizens in other countries and their own. What pisses me off about this even more than normal is that the ideal of America, the ideal whose practice made these innovative companies possible, has been whored off so enthusiastically by these companies NOT to make a fortune, but to make a little bit more money to add to the already-existing fortunes. For the life of me I have never understood this. Wouldn’t the PR benefit of acting decently more than make up for the loss of possible future customers in places like China.

Antony is right to point out that this is an integral element in the repression of bloggers and other practioners of social media. I look forward to more coverage of this as the book goes on. (With Tom Lantos having died, I doubt seriously there is another American politician with the moral uprightness and love of conflict who will hold these companies to task.)

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