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.

Iran, apartheid, Zionism and other such matters

A fascinating collection of letters in today’s Melbourne Age newspaper, proving once again that debate about Israel/Palestine is far more robust in the public than the mainstream media usually allows:

The most frustrating thing about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the UN anti-racism conference (The Age, 21/4) — aside from his flagrant anti-Semitism — is the truth in his claim that Zionism is a racist, apartheid ideology. When critics of Israel quite rightly denounce the horrendous treatment of Palestinians, but lump it together with a vile racism of their own, not only does it reek of hypocrisy, but it lets Israel and America conveniently off the hook.

If we genuinely want an end to all racism, first we have to reject the equation that anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism.

Then we must draw parallels between historical examples of the Nazi Holocaust or apartheid South Africa and the reality that Palestinians face every day.

Only then can the most hopeful solution — one free, democratic and secular state for all the people of the Palestinian territory whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian — start to be realised.

Andrew Gilbert, Kingsbury

Role reversal is a farce

A notorious anti-Semite and misogynist was a speaker at a UN conference on racism. Is it not time for the world to acknowledge that the UN Human Rights Commission conference actually promotes racism and misogyny? How can any country whose leaders genuinely believe in human rights attend such a farce?

How can any human rights organisation be taken seriously when it takes part in a circus where Elie Wiesel stands outside as a protester and Ahmadinejad is a speaker?

Elise Margow, Caulfield South

Courage and opportunity

WITH the hysteria over President Ahmadinejad’s speech, we may overlook one thing. As a people suffering daily the effects of Israel’s occupation of their land, and quite undeniably racist treatment at the hands of Jewish settlers supported by Israel’s Government and military, the Palestinians cannot attend this conference because they have no state. So it is incumbent on supporters of Palestinians’ rights to make representations to the UN for them, and Ahmadinejad has had the courage to do so.

It must also be noted that the representatives of European states who walked out of the room had intended to do so, perhaps to shield their ears from some uncomfortable truths; truths that the rest of the delegates subsequently heard and even applauded. It is a small consolation to those of us disgusted by Australia’s boycott of the conference that it thereby lost the opportunity to join in this mock protest.

If this is to be a meaningful conference, why on earth can we not mention Israel, whose new Government quite openly espouses racial discrimination and apartheid and seeks to prevent the Palestinians from having their own state on their own land?

David Macilwain, Sandy Creek

Durban revisited

IT WAS fitting that John Langmore’s piece (Comment & Debate, 21/4) came on the day that dozens of Western diplomats were compelled to walk out of the opening session of the UN racism conference, following the anti-Semitic screed of Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Only in an Orwellian universe could a conference purportedly designed to end racism begin with a statement endorsing its full potential.

By boycotting the meetings, Australia joins a list of other nations that learned the sad lesson of Durban: the skill with which well-meaning and vital initiatives are hijacked for political purposes. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s surprise and dismay that Ahmadinejad’s comments did just this reveal a level of naivety that speaks ill of the UN’s leader.

One wonders just how many diplomats forced to lend legitimacy to the Iranian rant by their presence and compelled to flee the chamber would gladly have “lost” this opportunity, along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the other nations that wisely refused to be drawn a second time into this charade.

Joel Eigen, Melbourne

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