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.

Online Journalism Blog on The Blogging Revolution

Online Journalism Blog is one of the world’s leading spaces for discussing new media and citizen journalism. One of its key players, Paul Bradshaw, who lectures in the UK, has written the following piece about my book, The Blogging Revolution:

From the Baghdad Blogger to Twittering the Chinese Earthquake, plenty has been written about the potential of blogs to allow Western readers access to foreign voices: the ‘Parachute Journalism’ of ‘Our Man in Tehran’ is appearing increasingly anachronistic and paternalistic next to the experiences and thoughts of those caught in the crossfire.

Despite this, mainstream media portrayals of countries like Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China remains largely superficial.

This is the problem that Antony Loewenstein seeks to address with The Blogging Revolution (Amazon US) – a book which is as much about bloggers as it is a demonstration of what blogging has made possible.

Through contacts made in the blogosphere, Antony visits each of the six countries named above in turn, speaking to local bloggers, ex pat bloggers, and experts, in an attempt to reveal a richer, more detailed picture of living under one party rule.

In this he is largely successful, and in the Afterword you get a key insight into why:

“I never viewed my interview subjects as merely a journalistic project; rather, they represented an opportunity to develop ongoing relationships with people who could continually broaden my knowledge of the Middle East, China and Cuba.”

Rarely is the difference between career journalism and blogging so well illustrated.

The reader is introduced to  bloggers across the political spectrum (although not the most powerful blogger of them all, Iranian President Ahmadinejad), and in doing so, illustrates how reality doesn’t quite fit into the pro- or anti-American boxes the Western media so often talk of.

Time and time again Loewenstein encounters people who like many aspects of America (one sees it as having many “Islamic” qualities), but would rather shape their own political future and structure, thank you very much.

It is fascinating to learn the degree to which blogging has been adopted and indeed co-opted in many of the countries: Iran has around a million bloggers, with 10% regularly updated; and Farsi is listed by Technorati as among the top five languages on the internet; one in 30 Chinese people writes a blog.

There is a Muslim Bloggers Association and an Office for Religious Blogs Development, as the government helps every religious student to start a blog.

In Egypt bloggers succeeded in forcing the state to the “extremely unusual” move of putting a police captain on trial for torture. They set up email lists for journalists and human rights workers during the state violence of 2006.

Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas was the first blogger in 2007 to be awarded the Knight International Award for Excellent in Journalism.

But for their efforts bloggers have been detained for months without trial, convicted and jailed. The Arab Bloggers’ Union has campaigned for the release of Ahmed Mohsen in particular.

In Syria, where Islamist bloggers are not as ubiquitous “for the simple reason that the government views them as a threat to its rule”, Tariq Baiasi was “abducted” for posting a comment on a website criticising the state’s security apparatus. He disappeared in July 2007, and was recently sentenced to three years in prison.

In Saudi Arabia the SaudiJeans blogger says that the state rarely imprisons bloggers or tortured journalists, preferring instead to simply ban them. Almost half of bloggers here are women, but Loewenstein is unable to meet with any due to the almost segregated society.

In Cuba he comes up against a lack of bloggers – not surprisingly: only 2% of the population have web access due to a combination of the US embargo, poverty, and state restrictions:

“Of over 3000 journalists who work openly for the government … only 150 regularly used the web … Some sites were inaccessible and an internal intranet was widely used.”

(Recently there have been signs that this is changing)

Because it was illegal for blogger Yoani Sanchez – who was awarded the Ortega and Gasset prize in Journalism by El Pais – to use internet access at Western hotels, and the hourly fee is prohibitively expensive, she “has to write fast and avoid being caught. Some island bloggers are forced to dress as tourists, feign accents and covertly enter hotels to get online.”

Then there is China, the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. According to a study by Middlebury College, blogs in China are far more likely to carry criticism than Chinese newspapers, with successes including exposing the assault of street sellers by local police (a story local TV journalists had refused to cover).

Censorship is well covered throughout the book – key here are Western companies including Cisco, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! But readers find ways around the censorship, ‘reading in code’: if a blogger in China talks about ‘river crab’, for instance, they’re talking about censorship.

This is a worthy, complicated book that reveals a richer understanding of other lives in other countries. The hope expressed here is that the voices now being heard on the blogosphere will help spread that understanding across borders. The question, as Loewenstein asks of journalists, is “Are we listening?”

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