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.

Talking Palestine in Ubud

I’m currently in Ubud, Bali after being invited by the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival to conduct an event tonight.

The following article appears in the current edition of the local paper, The Bali Advertiser:

2009 Ubud Writers and Readers Festival presents Antony Loewenstein author of “My Israel Question” and “The Blogging Revolution

Just as the UWRF staff began the task of planning this year’s Festival around the theme of Suka Duka: Compassion and Solidarity, [festival founder] Janet was contacted by Antony Loewenstein, Australian freelance journalist, author and blogger, who is visiting Bali in February. We were struck by how perfectly his works encapsulated our theme, and provoked us to think more deeply about what we mean by compassion and solidarity, and how this is acted out in people’s daily lives.

Loewenstein, a self-proclaimed anti-Zionist Jew and co-founder of the advocacy group Independent Australian Jewish Voices, and is one of that rare and passionate breed of politically engaged journalists whose work is as incisive as it is controversial. Born into a liberal Jewish family in Melbourne, he found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the solidarity he feels with his people and their struggle, but the deep compassion he feels for the Palestinian people subjugated by the Israeli state in the name of Zionism.

The result is the masterful and moving My Israel Question (2006, Melbourne University Press, and reprinted every year since). A very personal account of the Israel-Palestine conflict, My Israel Question offers a critique of modern Zionism and the Israeli state that gathers force through an examination of his own Jewishness. He describes Israel as a fundamentally racist state that enacts apartheid policies on the Palestinian people, a fact that is blatantly apparent yet continues to go unrecognised by the majority of Western commentators and political analysts who continue to defend the rights of the Jewish state at all costs.

How, Loewenstein asks, “could one still have blind faith in a country that enacts citizenship laws to prevent Palestinians who marry Israelis from living in Israel with full rights? How could one idealise a nation with an army that, despite Sharon calling it ‘the most moral in the world’, frequently engages in war crimes in the Occupied Territories, collectively punishes the Palestinian people, and destroys and steals Arab land for expansion of settlements”?

Loewenstein argues for the right of Israelis “to live in peace and security but not at the expense of the Palestinians”. The conflict can only be resolved by honest and open negotiations, through compassion and solidarity, with a full realisation that each has a right to their own safe and secure statehood.

The Israel-Palestine conflict has rarely been discussed so frankly, and the book provided a catalyst for wide ranging debate in Australia and opened the way for the expression of dissenting views effectively silenced by allegations of anti-semitism. John Pilger pronounced the book the most important Australian writing on the Israel question, and described Loewenstein as ‘a truth-teller bar none’.

Loewenstein’s sense of compassion and solidarity and his investigation into dissenting voices absent in global media continues in his most recent book, The Blogging Revolution (2008, MUP), a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe who live and write under repressive regimes-many of them risking their lives in doing so.

Galvanised by the US invasion of Iraq, Loewenstein returned to the Middle East, and beyond in search of alternative views and voices, finding them broadcasting loudly through digital networks and communities. His search took 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 discovered the ways in which the internet is threatening the rule of governments.

The Blogging Revolution is an examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It offers a vivid account of life in the Middle East. Salam Pax, the infamous Baghdad Blogger, wrote that Loewenstein “introduces us to many members of the digital tribe, their hopes, dreams and daily lives in countries where the new battle for freedom of expression is being fought.”

Both My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution explore alternatives to mainstream opinions and perspectives that dominate the terms of public debate in the West and limit the range of possible solutions to problems that affect us all.

Loewenstein will be appearing at the first of the UWRF’s Literary Dinner fundraising events for 2009 on Sunday 15 February. In conversation with the provocative and engaging Wayan Juniartha, it will be an evening of lively debate and discussion, a chance to hear a first hand account of the life in Occupied Territories, and an opportunity for us all to reflect on Suka Duka: Compassion and Solidarity.

For further information contact: info@ubudwritersfestival.com

Sunday 15 February
6.30pm, Indus Restaurant 0361 977 684
Free entry

one comment ↪
  • The Palestinians are crazy even to consider talking to Israel when it continues to build on Palestinian lands in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Also, without the involvement of Hamas, the talks are meaningless. The prediction that the negotiations will be complete “successfully” within one year shows that Obama and Hillary Clinton are completely delusional. They seem to live in a different planet.