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.

Brutality brought to you by Zionist military service

The following article, which appeared in Israel’s right-wing paper Maariv, was translated by Keren Rubinstein and distributed by the Middle East News Service. The author is the editor of the arts and culture supplement:

With baton in hand: that’s us

Shai Lahav

The wide public debate about violence has ignored one of the most basic and self-evident causes for this blow: military service

I remember the first time I shattered someone’s bones with a baton. February 1988, Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza. As usual, we were in a rank laneway, chasing a boy who’d thrown stones at us. But unusually, we also caught him. And he paid for all the others.

I could tell you with satisfaction that I was one of the last soldiers who ran towards him to “teach him a lesson”. That I raised the baton only after I sensed my platoon commander’s fierce gaze. That I gave the weakest blows I could deliver. All true. But the fact is that a month later I was one of the first ones to hit. And I don’t really remember feeling bad about it. In fact, I didn’t feel anything.

There’s something amazing to me in the way that the wide public debate about violence has ignored one of the most basic and accepted causes for this blow. For over twenty years now, hundreds of thousands of Israeli men have been made to use physical force against civilians as part of their military service. They hit, curse, handcuff and humiliate. All according to orders. At the age of 21 they dispose of their kitbag at the reception base, but not of the evil genie that’s now been released from the bottle.

Because that is the nature of violence. The moment it can break free, only Aladdin – or Allah – can get it back. When you hand a baton over to an 18 year old kid, one who until that moment witnessed beatings only on “Starsky and Hutch”, and tell him that using it is not only legitimate but essential, you’ve opened up – for the rest of his life – the option of using violence as a way to solve problems. It probably won’t turn him to a serial killer, but it will increase the likelihood that he will serve the bastard who dared cut ahead of him in line, with a ringing slap to the face.

IDF platoon at a Peruvian market

Here’s a sample of my last claim. In 1995 I travelled through South America. Among the hordes of Israelis moving along the continent, one group, numbering 15 friends, stood out. It was called “the platoon”, and was indeed a genuine paratroopers’ unit, whose members flew to Argentina a second after their discharge. They took with them their commander, their discipline, and their memories from the Nablus Casbah.

One spring day, in a farmers market near the city of Cusco in Peru, I encountered them in action. They were haggling with the local vendors over the price of various souvenirs, ridiculously cheap in Israeli terms. At a certain point, one of them “caught” one of the hawkers telling a lie. Instinctively, he grabbed the Peruvian’s collar, pinning him to his own body, and started shouting in a tone I was quite familiar with.

As far as he was concerned, in that moment he was in the Territories, and the hawker was a Palestinian trouble maker. It took exactly a minute for all his fellow platoon members to pulverise most of the stalls, in a brief, efficient and spine-tingling display of violence. They were salt of the earth. Paratroopers, with their beautiful locks and looks. True to the stereotype, some of them were also kibbutz members. But their released genies turned them into animals.

I am not saying that the occupation is the only cause of violence in Israeli society. I’m also not claiming that this use of power, as part of military service, was always unjustified. After all, it was the Palestinian leadership that instigated an Israeli confrontation with their civilians. But nevertheless this is a central parameter in our society becoming violent .

Anyone wondering “what have we come to?” should recall 8 December 1987, the first day of the first Intifada, and be rewarded with a blunt and painful clue. Like an IDF baton.

one comment ↪
  • Sol Salbe

    Just for the record it is Keren [Hebrew for ray (of sunshine)] Rubinstein  not Kerin