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 struggle away from the headlines

John Docker is an Australian Jew long associated with human rights. He’s also one of the founders of the Committee to Dismantle Zionism.

He presented the following paper yesterday at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies conference, “After Israel’s attack on Gaza: How do we work for peace and justice?”.

In 2002, following a letter to the British Guardian by Hilary and Steven Rose, Ghassan Hage and I put out a call for an Australian boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The call was denounced by various Howard government ministers, so Ghassan and I immediately knew we were doing something right. We received some prominent newspaper coverage, drawing attention to an Arab man and a Jewish man coming together in opposition to Zionism. We regarded our call as in the tradition of the international academic and cultural boycott of Apartheid South Africa. So does BRICUP in the UK, the boycott group inspired by the Hilary and Steven Rose letter.

As far as I’m concerned, the 2002 Australian boycott call is still in effect; it was signed by a hundred or so humanities intellectuals, infinitely superior to the Zionist functionaries who opposed it – we might think of Jeff Halper’s recent comments on the immaturity and lack of independent thought of the mainstream Australian Jewish community, reprising similar comments I have made in the past. This is an important point: the ever more apparent intellectual inferiority of the Zionists, which is why they resort to ad hominem vilification of those who disagree with them.

In the years since 2002, Zionist organizations worldwide have tried, by censorship and persecution, to intimidate academic critics into silence and fear. Nevertheless, during the horrors of the Gaza Massacre in early 2009, Ned Curthoys and I formed the Committee for the Dismantling of Zionism, and issued another call for an academic boycott. So far, there have been forty one signatories; if you want to add to that number, please email me.

I’ll read out the actions we support:

1. Refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions;
2. Advocate a comprehensive boycott of Israeli academic institutions at the national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions;
3. Promote divestment and disinvestment from Israel by academic institutions;
4. Work toward the condemnation of Israeli policies by pressing for resolutions to be adopted by academic, professional and cultural associations and organizations;
5. Support Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.

Our boycott call is based on the call put out by PACBI, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, who point out that all Israeli universities are complicit in maintaining the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and other forms of colonial and racist oppression. PACBI points out, for example, that the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – with which, by the way, the research office at this university has established an agreement for staff exchanges – was the beneficiary of land confiscated from Palestinian families in 1968, a year after Israel’s military occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem. A large part of this confiscated land was then given to the Hebrew University to expand its campus. Such expropriation is illegal under the terms of international humanitarian law, specifically in relation to the Fourth Geneva Convention concerning the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (1949). It is noteworthy that such international law was passed in a flurry of humanitarian law legislation in the late 1940s; in just a few days in December 1948, there was the UN Genocide Convention, then the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, then, the following day, UN Resolution 194 declaring the unconditional right of the Palestinian refugees, near 800,000 people, to return to their homes.

A very interesting aspect of our 2009 call is that it has been signed by a number of Indigenous academics. I take this to be a sign that Israel is now clearly perceived as a brutal settler-colonial society as well as a nationalist project.

At the end of the First World War, the famous writer Stefan Zweig wrote a letter to the philosopher Martin Buber, a Zionist since the late 1890s. How can you, Zweig asked Buber, support a nationalist movement like Zionism, having seen what nationalism did to the world in the war coming to an end? Zweig predicted a Jewish State would be a “state with cannons, flags, and military decorations”. How prescient Zweig was! The people of conscience of the world, Jewish and non-Jewish, have increasingly recognised and now fully recognise that Zionism is dead, spiritually, ethically, intellectually, after the 1948 ethnic cleansing and genocide and certainly after the Gaza Massacre. Zionist Israel still has power, frightening lawless military power. But it has no moral legitimacy. That is why the academic boycott is part of a more general BDS movement across the world: to defeat by Gandhian non-violence a soulless Zionism and return Palestine to a society and state for all its peoples.

no comments – be the first ↪