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 Jewish community leaders abusing their positions

The following letters appear in this week’s Australian Jewish News:

The ironies never end. The first thing waiting for me upon my return to Jerusalem from my speaking tour of Australia, where, like a Marrano, I had a secret meeting with Jewish professors in Melbourne and had to address the Jewish community of Sydney from a church, was an invitation to address a visiting group of 25 Australian Jewish students, which I did!

When Diaspora Jews actually come to Israel, it turns out, they discover a real country with a wide diversity of views to which they have to listen.

While I would have liked a more meaningful exchange with all of you, the controversy surrounding the refusal of The AJN to run the ad of my talk at Temple Emmanuel in Sydney -– and that talk’s subsequent cancelling as well -– contributed, I believe, to the discussion on Israel.

Letters to The AJN revealed that many of you did want to hear a critical presentation, that your community leaders abused their role as gatekeepers.

But it raised an even deeper issue over the relationship of Diaspora Jewry to Israel.

Clinging to an idealised image of the country that must be defended at any price is not a useful position.

It disrespects the vitality of Israel, as well as its sovereignty, and leads to a disrespect of whatever Israeli voices, like mine, that do not fit into that image.

The controversy has revealed an unhealthy aspect of your relationship to Israel that, I believe, should and must be addressed.

JEFF HALPER
Israel

THE ‘REAL’ COMMUNITY

Vivienne Porzsolt’s count of letters to The AJN (27/03) cannot include the actual number of items submitted. Only the editor knows that.

Porzsolt’s states that “the real Jewish community” is “hungry for discussion denied by their official bodies”.

She disregards the space given by The AJN to her views and contradicts herself in acknowledging the community’s “rich diversity”, while claiming that its official bodies -– which the community elects -– are unrepresentative.

Official bodies in Australia are overwhelmingly Zionistic. Letters express the views of a segment, but mainly those of people concerned enough to write.

It is ridiculous for anyone to claim that their views represent a community, when they advocate on behalf of the community’s opponents.

PAUL WINTER
Chatswood, NSW

INTERESTING DISCUSSION

THIS week I decided to go and listen to Professor Jeffrey Halper’s talk at the University of New South Wales. I am a committed member of my North Shore Jewish community, with children at Masada College.

I am also a believer in freedom of speech and ideas.

I found Prof Halper’s talk informative and interesting, and while I may not have agreed with everything he said, there was much he did say that I found pertinent and true, especially in light of Israel’s current situation.

At one point in his speech (and despite the presence of those in the audience who were clearly anti-Israel), Prof Halper discussed his decision to leave America many years ago to make aliyah, his extremely strong attachment to Israel and his love for the country.

He is an Israeli and he and his wife have raised three Israeli children. That is more of a commitment to Israel than many of us here will ever make.

What a shame our community sees fit to only welcome Israeli citizens who agree with mainstream community beliefs, and reject those whose ideas perhaps make us feel a bit uncomfortable.

Jeffrey Halper’s visit here was a wonderful opportunity for exchange of ideas and constructive debate within the Jewish community.

I am sorry I did not have my children with me at his talk that evening. It was one occasion I did not feel proud to be a member of my Jewish community.

MICHELLE SEGAL
St Ives, NSW

3 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    Do you ever get tired of just talking to each other though, that is the question.

    It's like a bloody freak show in the circus reading about jews screaming at each other.

    What about including the rest of the world, you might even like us.

  • ej

    Winter is right about one thing:

    'Official bodies in Australia are overwhelmingly Zionistic.'

    In short, a fifth column, claiming to speak for the overwhelming bulk of Australians who happen to be Jewish by ethnicity.

    Where do the funds come from for these bodies?

    The innately racist program of such bodies seems to run up against the Racial Discrimination Act.

    WHy haven't all these official bodies been closed down by the Australian authorities?

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