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.

An important debate on sanctions, Israel and the one-state option

After my story in Crikey a few days ago – talking about the concept of boycotting Israel and the one-state solution – a Jewish Australian responded yesterday. The following is my (unpublished) response:

The decision to support a cultural and academic boycott of Israel is not something to be taken lightly. It is done, like the global outrage against apartheid South Africa or Sri Lanka, because normalised relations with an occupying state is not morally justifiable.

In refuting my arguments yesterday, David Imber creates a Middle East reality that simply doesn’t exist. He attacks me for “punishing the whole of a country for the extreme political views of a few.” In fact, the Israeli public has consistently voted for political parties (from the Right to the centre) that have only increased the occupation in the West Bank and maintained an illegal blockade on Gaza.

The Israeli public saying it wants to end the occupation isn’t really good enough after more than 40 years of its existence. Such words are meaningless when more and more colonies are springing up every day. Presumably Imber believes that this “minority extreme” should be regarded as ineffective. The opposite is true. The so-called Left and Right have, since 1967, funded, backed and armed the occupation; it has become a modern Zionist trait.

“To call for a boycott…would hurt the many Israelis who voted for engagement and peace”, Imber states, seemingly oblivious to the facts on the ground in Palestine today. I wonder if he has ever seen the daily burning of Palestinian fields by settlers, Jewish soldiers beating Palestinians or spitting settlers on peace activists. Religious Jewry is actually growing in political power, not decreasing, as Imber claims. The “secular” majority of which Imber talks (and admires) has become impotent. There is no real Israeli peace movement today of any power.

I, along with millions of others around the world, support a boycott against Israel because there is little chance the political will could be mustered to bring peace. I don’t completely dismiss the possibility of the international community getting its act together and understanding that Israel’s racially exclusion may be reversed. This won’t happen, as Imber naively argues, by simply hoping and praying. That path has been tried for decades and achieved nothing more than entrenched occupation.

Naomi Klein expresses it best when outlining her reasons for the boycott:

“There has been a huge amount of misrepresentation about the boycott campaign, claiming that it is a boycott of Israelis, or Jews, or that it’s anti-Semitic… When writers and artists stop participating in the Israeli government’s strategy to use culture to hide what’s on the other side of the concrete walls, Israelis may eventually decide that those walls are a liability and decide to take them down.”

Today, Crikey publishes the following letters:

Robert Johnson writes: David Imber’s presumably confected outrage seeks to divert the focus of Antony Loewenstein’s important raising within Australian discourse (more common elsewhere) of the one- versus two-state solution.

It’s Imber’s prerogative to advocate the Thatcher option over the Mandela option on sanctions (Thatcher’s compassion for black South African suffering was just as touching, and apartheid-era South Africa also called itself a democracy). But at least Loewenstein is searching for just and sustainable solutions whilst Imber seems more concerned about temporary inconvenience to people who continue to overwhelmingly support an unjust regime, regardless of who his family there votes for.

It’s disingenuous to portray Israeli supporters of Palestinian oppression and expanded occupation as minority extremists; the three main parties’ candidates went into the elections earlier this year trying to outdo each other on the Gaza atrocity and none promised an end to expansionism. External pressure remains essential and is long overdue.

And, of course, to suggest, as Imber does, that to care about present-day Palestinian suffering means that you care less (read “don’t care”) about the perpetrators’ greater suffering in a different time and place goes to the core of how intransigent and ruthless the continuation of Palestinian oppression will remain without such intervention. Given that the two-state solution contains major difficulties (how can it not be a three-state solution with Gaza’s isolation?

Israeli agreement will require trading the best land it has illegally occupied in the West Bank for some unwanted land elsewhere; Israel will have ringed-off and isolated Palestinian East Jerusalem from the West Bank as it is doing right now (four-state solution?); will all major Israeli parties renounce mainstream support for expansionist “eretz Israel” ideology (notably, Likud and Kadimah)?

What about the Palestinian refugees’ right of return? Would a Palestinian state have the right to mount a nuclear defence against its militant nuclear-power neighbour? Is a two-state solution thus compatible with a durable regional peace? etc).

A sustainable peace demands the sort of dialogue which Lowenstein’s article called for and Imber’s response sought to kill off.

Benjamin Teale writes
: Of course a boycott of Israel punishes the whole of the country, but have you considered the possibility that the whole is not being punished simply for the extreme views of the few, rather that the whole is being punished for not doing enough to express and act upon their more moderate views and hence, banishing the views of the extremists to the sidelines where they belong?

Mike Carey writes: Recently 10,000 Israelis urged a boycott of Volvos and IKEA homeware products. This was not in response to hundreds of civilians killed or illegal suburb building on occupied land but in reaction to a Swedish newspaper article alleging Israeli Defence Force soldiers harvested organs from slain Palestinians. Insert something about goose and gander here.

no comments – be the first ↪