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.

Decision to boycott Max Brenner products

The following letter was sent today to Australian-based, Israeli chocolate company Max Brenner by a non-Jewish reader of my website:

Dear XXX,

I reside in Melbourne and have heard from many about your delicious chocolate beverage etc. I finally made a visit to your outlet in Glen Waverley a few years back, but discovered that the chocolate products were made in Israel. I am aware of the illegal occupation of land by Israeli citizens with the support of successive Israeli governments and note that some of the community projects supported by the Strauss group that has 100% ownership of your company involve explicit support of the Israeli military.

For example:

In The Field With Soldiers

“Our connection with soldiers goes as far back as the country, and even further. We see a mission and need to continue to provide our soldiers with support, to enhance their quality of life and service conditions, and sweeten their special moments. We have adopted the Golani reconnaissance platoon for over 30 years and provide them with an ongoing variety of food products for their training or missions, and provide personal care packages for each soldier that completes the path. We have also adopted the Southern Shualei Shimshon troops from the Givati platoon with the goal of improving their service conditions and being there at the front to spoil them with our best products.”

With the recent massacre of civilians in Gaza by the Israeli armed forces under the command of the Israeli government, I will have no choice but to continue to boycott your products and feel obligated to make even greater efforts to urge members of my family, friends, and community to do the same.

While your company may “sweeten” the moments of Israeli soldiers, I hope you are equally aware of the “bitterness” your company has helped to create.  These words are simply euphemisms for the heinous crimes – eg. here, here and here carried out by organisations your company has helped support.

I strongly urge your company to re-evaluate its sense of corporate responsibility and ethics and to paraphrase the current President of the United States of America, strive towards helping us all move away from the “wrong side of history“.

In solidarity with those seeking a just, true and lasting peace for Israel, Palestine and all peoples of the world.

Yours sincerely,

XXX
Melbourne, Australia

13 comments ↪
  • ej

    The Melbourne Age today reports that French company Veolia (parent of Connex) is suing the Stockholm community council over the latter's choice of Hong Kong's MTR. What chutzpah!

    Veolia has run Stockholm's subway network for 10 years, so this is not a greenfield decision but a slap in the face by replacing Veolia.

    The upfront defense of the council is in commercial terms.

    But the Swedish christian development organisation Diakonia reports that the pressure on the council from those disgusted at Israeli criminality and Veolia's current involvement in a light rail project in Jerusalem that has apartheid written all over it.

    Diakonia also reports that the multi billion euro contract is one of the biggest current public procurement contracts going. Big bucks are at stake.

    No mention in the Age article of the Israel dimension, ho ho.

    Hey. doesn't Veolia know that this is the age of 'corporate social responsibility'? ho ho.

  • ej

    re Australia's merchandise trade with Israel.

    In 2007-08, Australia exported $254m worth of merchandise to Israel, and imported $685m of merchandise from Israel (a net deficit of $430m).

    Top imports from Israel were (in 3-digit categories):

    – pearls & gems: $122m (mostly diamonds? this is classic Australian global division of labour – export 'raw' diamonds, dig it up, ship it out, and import the value added stuff)

    – fertilisers (presumably not the high quality Hasbara propaganda shit; that would be listed under services imports): $69m.

    – telecom equipment: 67m.

    Israel has also been trying to flog UAVs (for which Israel has a 'comparative advantage') to the Australian military. meaning unmanned aerial vehicles. this is the ideal reconnaissance/killing machine – don't put any of your own people in danger. They also demonstrate what a fucking brilliant technologically advanced country we are; the moral? don't mess with us.

    So if Australians want to boycott Israeli products, the first port of call is diamond rings. But who amongst the cognoscenti buys diamond rings?

  • Polywise

    See the thing about letters like that is that they're completely in vain – the folks over at Max Brenner couldn't give a toss. Their version of 'corporate responsibility' is reason enough to come to that conclusion.

    So it's reasonable to assume that as soon as the execs see words like "illegal occupation of Israel", they're going to stop reading and in all likelihood, just hit the 'delete' button. Either that, or respond with a pro forma "Dear , The team at Max Brenner would like to thank you for your email…blah blah blah".

    Snooze…

    Come on! What kind of crazy thinks MB are going to re-evaluate their sense of corporate responsibility because some random in Melbourne, Australia wrote to them and asked them to?

    Unfortunately, this is where the left often falls down – our strategy isn't just outdated, it's completely wrong. We think our lofty, earnest emails to corporations really do matter (they don't). More often than not we embrace the delusion that whomever we're appealing to with our humanity inspired objections will actually give a damn. Wrong again – if they gave a damn we wouldn't be writing to them in the first place. It's like trying to halt Goliath by tickling him with a feather on the elbow – mildly amusing but for the most part ineffectual.

    As we move closer and closer to a semantic web, brands undoubtedly will wield less and less power. The effectiveness of owned and bough media space will be eclipsed by earned media placement. And this shift puts the consumer, rather than the brand, in the drivers' seat. All the better if you're interested in encouraging brands/corporates to be accountable for their behaviour.

    It's great to have convictions and "take a stand", but if you're really interested in influencing change, it's probably wise to concede this round and focus on what you can do in the future. And that's all about restrategising to hit them where it really hurts. The bottom line.

    Death by chocolate anyone?

  • Gordon

    Activists from the Sydney boycott working group of the Gaza Defence Committee are calling on people to boycott Max Brenner. Weekly pickets of Max Brenner are being organised every Thursday afternoon, outside its city and Parramatta stores.

    The working group is also taking the boycott case to unions and universities in order to help expand the growing global movement to target apartheid Israeli, just as apartheid South Africa was targeted.

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  • nabila

    @polywise its a word of mouth, many people dont understand the politics of running a business they just think its personal and its about money in ones pocket. this letter can inform the people about max brenner and cause them to research more about it. Why do you think starbucks is suffering now? because word of mouth not because they are scared of what was in the letter

  • Mark Davis

    Get a life you losers. What's the preoccupation with Israel, when right next door you have Syria mudering over a 1000 of its own citizens and not a peep out of your cowardly sychophants. Where were your righteous attitudes when Rawanda was committing genocide or the Sudan and Somalia as we speak not to mention Zimbabwe. The problem is that the scarf dragging have-nots like you will always be targetting those that get on with things and achieve success (however you measure it). Why don't you focus on the fact that the Palestinian Authorities have embezzeled billions of dollars of aid given to them on bullshit activities including terrorism and spent very little on actually building a civilisation that will make its inhabitants stop worrying about what is happening across the border.

    • freegaza

      Across borders??? Do u think the dumb ass israilis are staying within their borders? The cows are bombing and torturing palastenians in their own homes. If the palastenians had the money to bomb back, they probably would have. But guess what, their only tool of mass destruction are rocks and pebbles!!!! Yes that’s right. That is what they use to get rid of tanks roaring their streets!!! Go do some homework and look into stuff rather than try to read a book by it’s cover. Only ignorant and uneducated people like you will leave such a shallow comment.

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