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.

Don’t define Saudi through oppression alone

Human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia are legendary and largely ignored by the Western elite. That oil is certainly tasty.

But the Kingdom is changing, slowly but surely, through a very modern medium:

“5 riyals” – less than two dollars – that’s all the money many unemployed Saudi youths have in their pockets. It’s also the title of a new song by the Saudi hip-hop group “Blak Royalty,” which launched their first official video in Jeddah a few weeks ago. In a country with unemployment estimates as high as 25%, the group spotlights the challenges that face young Saudis today. But more importantly, their mode of expression is indicative of a new wave of artistic output the kingdom.

An underground music revolution is sweeping Saudi youth culture. Despite strict laws that prohibit the playing of music in public, dozens of bands have popped up in underground venues across the country. Two years ago, there were fewer than five established bands in Jeddah. Today, there are more than 60. With a host of problems affecting young Saudis, from unemployment to restricted freedoms, music is becoming the mode of choice for expressing frustrations.

Here’s the video for “5 riyals”, a curiously Western-sounding track with distinctly Saudi overtones:

2 comments ↪
  • Kerry Sinclair

    Iwonder how much comfort your article offers the oppressed women of Saudi Arabia for whom change is indeed slow.  The following comes from the HRW website. http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/07/08/saudi-arabi
    (New York) – Saudi officials continue to require women to obtain permission from male guardians to conduct their most basic affairs, like traveling or receiving medical care, despite government assertions that no such requirements exist, Human Rights Watch said today. The government made its assertions most recently in June 2009, to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
    Saudi Al-Watan newspaper reported on July 2 that Saudi doctors have confirmed that Health Ministry regulations still require a woman to obtain permission from her male guardian to undergo elective surgery. In late June, Saudi border guards at the Bahrain crossing refused to allow the renowned women's rights activist Wajeha al-Huwaider to leave the country because she did not have her guardian's permission.
    "The Saudi government is saying one thing to the Human Rights Council in Geneva but doing another thing inside the kingdom," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "It needs to stop requiring adult women to seek permission from men, not just pretend to stop it."
    Human Rights Watch documented in an April 2008 report, Perpetual Minors, the impact of the "guardianship" system, which requires Saudi women to obtain permission from male guardians before they can carry out a host of day-to-day activities, such as education, employment, travel, opening a bank account, or receiving medical care.
    The government itself has repeatedly denied the existence of such guardianship requirements under Islamic law. Most recently, at its review before the UN Human Rights Council in June, Saudi Arabia stated that any purported Shari'a concept of male guardianship over women is not a legal requirement in the kingdom, and that "Islam guarantees a woman's right to conduct her affairs and enjoy her legal capacity." The Health Ministry specifically denied any requirement for a guardian's permission for women seeking surgery, in response both to Human Rights Watch in March 2008 and, again, to Al-Watan in July 2009.
    Evidence obtained by Human Rights Watch and Al-Watan indicates that such permission is a requirement, however. For its 2008 report, Human Rights Watch spoke to four physicians and two women who confirmed the need for a guardian's permission.

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