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 message to the masses

I wrote last night about seeing Noam Chomsky here in New York. The city’s Indypendent newspaper today has a fuller report on the event:

Renowned leftist intellectual, linguist and author Noam Chomsky discussed democracy, the economy and global crises June 12 at Riverside Church in Harlem.

Over 2,000 people attended the event, which benefited the social change group the Brecht Forum. Chomsky’s hour-long talk, entitled “Crisis and Hope: Theirs and Ours,” addressed a range of social and political topics. He examined U.S. political policies over the past few decades and encouraged the audience to challenge neoliberalism, military intervention and capitalism.

“There is a striking gap between public opinion and public policy on a host of major issues, domestic and foreign, and based on my judgment public opinion is often a lot more sane,” Chomsky said.

The evening began with a separate reception for the Brecht Forum. Alternative, politically-charged music performed by Earthdriver and Mahina Movement filled the sanctuary as the audience entered. Following welcomes by Rev. Robert B. Coleman from Riverside Church and three representatives of the Brecht Forum, Amy Goodman introduced Chomsky.

Goodman, the host and executive producer of the news program Democracy Now!, expressed Chomsky’s commitment to social causes and his impact on public thought.

“I bet almost everyone here tonight in this sanctuary has a story about discovering Noam’s writings or his voice or his words and how it has changed your life,” Goodman said.

The crowd rose as Chomsky walked to the podium. The 80-year-old MIT professor explained the title of the lecture by contrasting the so-called crises of the first world countries with more pressing humanitarian concerns amongst impoverished peoples.

“Bailing out banks is not utmost in the minds of the people now facing starvation, not forgetting the tens of millions enduring hunger in the richest country in the world,” he said.

Following this observation, he challenged Western intervention in other countries’ affairs. He cited imperialism and U.S.-supported coups, such as the overthrow of a democratically elected regime in Haiti in 1991, as evidence that meddling by the West is often not in the best interest of native peoples.

Chomsky, a longtime opponent of neoliberalism, also criticized capitalist notions of progress. He explained that since the “Golden Age of Capitalism” in the 1970s, real wages have stayed the same, work hours have increased, benefits have decreased, and social indicators have dropped. He finds these figures problematic to the general public of the United States.

“There has been economic growth, but it is finding its way into very few pockets, increasingly into the financial industries, which have grown enormously while productive industry has significantly declined,” he said.

As a libertarian socialist, Chomsky believes that workers should control their own industries. This would change the current disparity between the wealth and resources of corporate leaders and the difficult situation of laborers. Instead of simply ameliorating the current economic crisis, Chomsky advocates a reexamination of the capitalistic framework.

After criticizing the current economic system, he turned to the amount of taxes spent on military projects. He pointed out that the United States spends significantly more on military endeavors than any other nation, which he deems an unnecessary waste of taxpayer money. During the Cold War, increased military expenditures were explained by the government as necessary to prevent an attack by large, powerful countries. According to Chomsky, this reasoning should have been eliminated with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. However, military spending has increased since then, but with a different explanation by the government. Chomsky expressed that this justification, specifically the exaggerated threat from the Middle East, is unconvincing and that military spending should be reduced.

“In brief, everything will go on exactly as before, but with new pretexts,” he said, satirizing the government’s position. “So we still need the same huge military system, but for a new reason: literally, because of the technological sophistication of third world powers.”

He then discussed the increased role of NATO despite the end of the Cold War and challenged similar efforts of “Western imperial domination.” Chomsky stated that the questionable policy of U.S.-run intervention will not end under the Obama administration, since many members of the current cabinet were adherents to neoliberalism in Clinton’s administration. Chomsky went on to criticize Obama’s efforts to undermine democratic referendums in Iraq, claiming that Obama is worried that Iraqis might reject a measure that would delay U.S. troop withdrawal. Chomsky further criticized the military strategies and huge civilian tolls in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

He urged people to pay more attention to the environment, discussing greenhouse gas emissions and the increased threat of global warming. Similarly, he noted the lack of efficient rail and other public transportation in the United States and suggested that workers from the struggling auto industry be put to work in improving environmentally friendly transportation. In general, he advocated more rights for workers and a greater commitment to the environment.

According to Chomsky, policies that do not benefit the public result from the “constrained version of democracy” in the United States. He explained that Madison and other Founding Fathers sought to protect the interests of an elite group of people from the opinions of the majority. Such aristocratic principles are built into the U.S. Constitution, which has limited the political power of the general public. Common people gained some power during the 1960s and other activist eras, but Chomsky still sees a “democratic deficit” between what is in the best interest of the people and what is actually done. He encouraged the audience to stand against faulty policies and economic systems.

“That means tearing apart the enormous edifice of illusions about the markets, trade and democracy that have been assiduously constructed over many years, and to overcome the marginalization and atomization of the public,” he said. “Of all the crises that afflict us, I believe this growing democratic deficit may be the most severe.”

The crowd gave a standing ovation as he concluded his final statements. Chomsky joins a list of other prestigious politicians and activists to speak at the historic Riverside Church, including Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Llama and Desmond Tutu.

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