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.

Why blog?

Australian blogger Amy Bradney-George on the ever-increasing importance of blogging in our media landscape:

A few years back, around the beginning of 2006, I began reading blogs by friends and family as a way of keeping in touch with them. From there I realised how many people across the world are actually utilising this form of communication and expression. I began looking for blogs by people in the arts industry – namely film, television and theatre. When I started regularly reading Stargate:Atlantis executive producer Joseph Mallozzi’s blog in the first half of last year, I also found another purpose for blogging.

Joe not only writes about what’s going on for the show he executive produces and writes for, but also about the film and television industry, about writing for screen, about the crew and cast, and also about other things which interest him – books and food spring to mind. He does an almost-daily “mailbag” question and answer session, effectively cutting out the middleman (media) and giving his responses directly and eloquently. While a lot of the questions are about Stargate (I believe he’s worked on all the Stargate projects save the original movie), a lot are about his other interests and the industry he’s working in.

What struck me then (and still does) is the fact that blogging can put a personality to a name and face that people may know. It’s also a great way to give people answers to questions they may have that the mainstream media won’t ask. Science fiction is a good example of this lack of media attention because is general it is not deemed “mainstream entertainment” (and why is a whole new topic which I won’t go into here). Being able to read blogs by people directly involved in the film and television industry can provide information that the relevant media parties may miss or be unable to report on.

Before I move on, I’d like to mention Joe’s book club. Every month or so he picks, or asks readers to choose, three books people can read and then discuss. It started towards the end of last year and has been a great success. Joe’s even been able to get authors like Lou Anders (also a prolific scifi editor), Jeffrey Ford and K.J. Bishop to drop by and answer questions from him and the other readers about their relevant books. Each book is given a week’s worth of discussion before moving on to the next. In itself, I think this book club not only gives readers a chance to ask well-known authors about their work, but has also created a great community of intelligent, interested speculative fiction (scifi, fantasy, horror) readers. It seems blogging can be more interesting and useful than I first thought.

One of the main discourses on blogging that I’ve heard about recently is the apparent threat it might pose to mainstream forms of journalism. I’ve often seen it referred to as a form of “citizen journalism” or, as the ABC might say “a type of User Generated Content”. Axel Bruns, a “casual observer” of journalism, says in this article that traditional forms of journalism are being overtaken by new forms like news blogs and other websites offering “citizen journalism”. Bruns’ thoughts shed some light on the fear many media organisations have when it comes to the internet and blogging.

As I’ve said here and here, I don’t necessarily think traditional forms of media are necessarily threatened by blogging or at risk of being lost, however, blogging does need to be looked at more closely by the media.

A good place to start might be the recently published book by Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein, aptly titled The Blogging Revolution. Based on two years worth of travel and research, Loewenstein’s book investigates the democratising processes blogging can provide, especially for countries often viewed as politically repressed. Focusing on dissidents and bloggers in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China, the book provides and in-depth look at how citizens, or perhaps more aptly “netizens” in these countries use blogging.

In his introduction to the book, Loewenstein expresses a frustration at the mainstream, Western media’s lack of interest in blogging as a way of providing voices for these countries. He writes that very few Western countries have had coverage of the Iraqi war without a “Western journalist’s filter”. It seems despite a journalistic obsession with balance, much of the Western media has not looked further than “official” statements, while blogs from citizens in these countries, experiencing these events first hand, lay forgotten in the online world.

His book highlights the importance of blogging for countries that don’t get a lot of Western media attention. It can be a way of showing the world what people experience, and how they feel about their countries. Western society may often make assumptions about countries seen as repressed or oppressed but, without hearing from people there, how do we really know? Loewenstein’s book provided insights and information into not only blogging, but also the way citizens in Iran, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and China feel about their countries and their leaders – what life is like living in these countries. It’s more than food for thought, The Blogging Revolution is essential reading for anyone interested in the opportunities the internet can provide and the state of the world today.

There may be no definite way to define the purpose of blogs, but it’s apparent they can be invaluable tools in providing insights, forums and context globally. Maybe that’s enough.

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