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.

Iran, Michael Jackson, and Generation X

My following article appears in the Asia-Pacific Magazine The Diplomat:

Our writer argues that his young tech-savvy peers, celebrity fixations aside, are increasingly engaged in global issues like this summer’s riots in Tehran.
The violent June uprisings in Iran ricocheted around the world. While young, old, conservative and liberal Iranians protested the stolen election win of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the global online community rushed to support the cause. Although the Western rhetoric of good versus evil was embarrassingly simplistic – most of the protesters weren’t calling for the end of the Islamic Republic, merely reform – it was gratifying to find international interest for the rioting Iranians.
This backing took many forms. Web-savvy youth provided tools for Iranians to avoid government-backed censorship. One man in California published an online guide for geeks to set up proxy servers for Iranian citizens, as a way to get around the blocking of sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. “I felt like it was my responsibility to use my skills to help”, he told the US-based Tehran Bureau website. Many others volunteered their time and energy to allow Iranian youth to maintain an online voice.
Even singers Madonna, U2’s Bono, Jon Bon Jovi and Joan Baez stood alongside the protestors. Joan Baez recorded a version of “We Shall Overcome” – the anthem of the American civil rights movement – with some lyrics translated into Farsi.
When news circulated in June that phone companies Nokia and Siemens had sold Iran a monitoring centre that enabled security forces to tap mobile phones, scramble text-messages and interrupt calls, the worldwide response was immediate. A “Boycott Nokia” campaign sprouted almost overnight, bringing tens of thousands of signatures. According to the Guardian, Iranians themselves started to back an economic boycott as those sympathetic to the protest movement began targeting companies seen to be collaborating with the regime.
By mid-July, however, the story had largely fallen out of the news, not helped by the fact that the vast majority of Western journalists had been kicked out of the country and the authorities had brutally cracked down on local bloggers and dissidents. In the week June 29-July 5, Iran-related stories accounted for only four percent of total news coverage, down from 19 percent one week earlier, according to Pew Research.
For a few weeks, Iran seemed like the biggest story in the world, although the possibility of a full-blown revolution was always very unlikely. Beirut-based think-tank Conflicts Forum wrote in July that, “The events in Iran centred on a dispute about the role of certain powerful clergy as well as an airing of old grievances between several strong personalities. This does not imply a leadership so ‘divided’ that it is about to fall.” This was no Eastern European “colour” revolution, despite the best efforts of the Western media to claim otherwise.
Many young Iranian friends reminded me not to be seduced by the romantic notions of liberty and freedom. The vast majority of support for Iranian “democrats” in the West isn’t so much about the individuals or groups but a way to overthrow or challenge the Islamic Republic. A revolution from within is the only way forward.
Outside interference in Iran is a time-honoured tradition, something that even US President Barack Obama acknowledged in his famous Cairo speech in June. “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government”, he said, in reference to the 1953 coup which overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
The global response to the Iranian uprisings proved that some dissent to authoritarian is more acceptable than others. Video footage was pouring out of Iran and world sympathy was clearly on the side of the protestors. Iran was the good fight, the just battle, and the inspiring struggle for democracy.
The democratic battle for Palestinian rights is framed in a completely different way. During recent travels around Israel, I was constantly told by Israelis that there was “no partner for peace” and checkpoints, walls and barriers had to be erected to prevent Palestinian terrorism.
Young American journalist Max Blumenthal correctly pointed out the inherent hypocrisy in the media’s response to these conflicts, noting “When Palestinians employ direct action tactics to protest Israeli oppression, and when Israeli forces respond with wanton brutality, they are ignored by the US media, even when footage is already available through online sources. It seems they can only generate media when they resort to violence, a dynamic the Israeli government obviously welcomes.” The only rational response is that Palestinians have been demonized so effectively over so many decades that any sympathy for them in the corporate media is automatically equated with anti-Americanism or anti-Semitism.
Despite these geo-political and media realities, the Palestinian cause is growing in strength across the world, especially among the younger generation. I encountered countless Western human rights activists throughout Palestine coming to protect Palestinian farmers from settler attacks or acquaint themselves with the realities of Israeli occupation. It is a cause that can’t be so easily erased by media silence. The Internet has allowed new voices to be heard – anti-Zionists, pro-Palestinian activists and critical perspectives against the Israel lobby – and has posted a fundamental challenge to the decades-old narrative of defenceless Israeli against aggressive Palestinian. Journalists in Gaza said that they were humbled with Western activists and journalists coming to the besieged Strip to hear their stories.
But neither Palestine nor Iran (or even the recent Uighur protests in China’s Xinjiang province) could match the outpouring of global grief over Michael Jackson’s death. It was at once dispiriting yet fleeting. Like Princess Diana, the emotions expressed were both deeply felt and artificial. Jackson’s music was undoubtedly influential but I suspect many simply longed to reclaim his once-cherished innocence and wished he had been able to resurrect his stalled career.
The public passions experienced over Jackson’s demise were a manifestation of celebrity culture run amok. But the global Web community is now so fragmented, offering the ability to support or advocate for countless causes, that enough individuals are still following and supporting the Iranians, Palestinians and Uighurs.
The baby boomers largely protested themselves out in the 1960s and 1970s – and many finally embraced the belief that pure capitalism was the best way to ensure social equity, despite the vast evidence challenging this thesis. In contrast, generation x and y are far less likely to burn out; activism is easy with the click of a mouse button.
As a member of Generation X, I don’t find apathy among my peers, but engagement, dedication and a belief in human rights. Perhaps the majority of the world’s population doesn’t care that Israel continues to illegally occupy the Palestinians or that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime tortures dissidents in jail, but the sheer force of powerful images and words transmitted by bloggers, satellite television and alternative media has created an unruly collection of conflicting messages and talking points. These causes are known because they are right and just. Solely relying on establishment news outlets to get informed is no longer a viable option.
Order is the enemy of progress.
Antony Loewenstein is a Gen X, Sydney journalist and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution

Our writer argues that his young tech-savvy peers, celebrity fixations aside, are increasingly engaged in global issues like this summer’s riots in Tehran.

The violent June uprisings in Iran ricocheted around the world. While young, old, conservative and liberal Iranians protested the stolen election win of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the global online community rushed to support the cause. Although the Western rhetoric of good versus evil was embarrassingly simplistic – most of the protesters weren’t calling for the end of the Islamic Republic, merely reform – it was gratifying to find international interest for the rioting Iranians.

This backing took many forms. Web-savvy youth provided tools for Iranians to avoid government-backed censorship. One man in California published an online guide for geeks to set up proxy servers for Iranian citizens, as a way to get around the blocking of sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. “I felt like it was my responsibility to use my skills to help”, he told the US-based Tehran Bureau website. Many others volunteered their time and energy to allow Iranian youth to maintain an online voice.

Even singers Madonna, U2’s Bono, Jon Bon Jovi and Joan Baez stood alongside the protestors. Joan Baez recorded a version of “We Shall Overcome” – the anthem of the American civil rights movement – with some lyrics translated into Farsi.

When news circulated in June that phone companies Nokia and Siemens had sold Iran a monitoring centre that enabled security forces to tap mobile phones, scramble text-messages and interrupt calls, the worldwide response was immediate. A “Boycott Nokia” campaign sprouted almost overnight, bringing tens of thousands of signatures. According to the Guardian, Iranians themselves started to back an economic boycott as those sympathetic to the protest movement began targeting companies seen to be collaborating with the regime.

By mid-July, however, the story had largely fallen out of the news, not helped by the fact that the vast majority of Western journalists had been kicked out of the country and the authorities had brutally cracked down on local bloggers and dissidents. In the week June 29-July 5, Iran-related stories accounted for only four percent of total news coverage, down from 19 percent one week earlier, according to Pew Research.

For a few weeks, Iran seemed like the biggest story in the world, although the possibility of a full-blown revolution was always very unlikely. Beirut-based think-tank Conflicts Forum wrote in July that, “The events in Iran centred on a dispute about the role of certain powerful clergy as well as an airing of old grievances between several strong personalities. This does not imply a leadership so ‘divided’ that it is about to fall.” This was no Eastern European “colour” revolution, despite the best efforts of the Western media to claim otherwise.

Many young Iranian friends reminded me not to be seduced by the romantic notions of liberty and freedom. The vast majority of support for Iranian “democrats” in the West isn’t so much about the individuals or groups but a way to overthrow or challenge the Islamic Republic. A revolution from within is the only way forward.

Outside interference in Iran is a time-honoured tradition, something that even US President Barack Obama acknowledged in his famous Cairo speech in June. “In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government”, he said, in reference to the 1953 coup which overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.

The global response to the Iranian uprisings proved that some dissent to authoritarian is more acceptable than others. Video footage was pouring out of Iran and world sympathy was clearly on the side of the protestors. Iran was the good fight, the just battle, and the inspiring struggle for democracy.

The democratic battle for Palestinian rights is framed in a completely different way. During recent travels around Israel, I was constantly told by Israelis that there was “no partner for peace” and checkpoints, walls and barriers had to be erected to prevent Palestinian terrorism.

Young American journalist Max Blumenthal correctly pointed out the inherent hypocrisy in the media’s response to these conflicts, noting “When Palestinians employ direct action tactics to protest Israeli oppression, and when Israeli forces respond with wanton brutality, they are ignored by the US media, even when footage is already available through online sources. It seems they can only generate media when they resort to violence, a dynamic the Israeli government obviously welcomes.” The only rational response is that Palestinians have been demonized so effectively over so many decades that any sympathy for them in the corporate media is automatically equated with anti-Americanism or anti-Semitism.

Despite these geo-political and media realities, the Palestinian cause is growing in strength across the world, especially among the younger generation. I encountered countless Western human rights activists throughout Palestine coming to protect Palestinian farmers from settler attacks or acquaint themselves with the realities of Israeli occupation. It is a cause that can’t be so easily erased by media silence. The Internet has allowed new voices to be heard – anti-Zionists, pro-Palestinian activists and critical perspectives against the Israel lobby – and has posted a fundamental challenge to the decades-old narrative of defenceless Israeli against aggressive Palestinian. Journalists in Gaza said that they were humbled with Western activists and journalists coming to the besieged Strip to hear their stories.

But neither Palestine nor Iran (or even the recent Uighur protests in China’s Xinjiang province) could match the outpouring of global grief over Michael Jackson’s death. It was at once dispiriting yet fleeting. Like Princess Diana, the emotions expressed were both deeply felt and artificial. Jackson’s music was undoubtedly influential but I suspect many simply longed to reclaim his once-cherished innocence and wished he had been able to resurrect his stalled career.

The public passions experienced over Jackson’s demise were a manifestation of celebrity culture run amok. But the global Web community is now so fragmented, offering the ability to support or advocate for countless causes, that enough individuals are still following and supporting the Iranians, Palestinians and Uighurs.

The baby boomers largely protested themselves out in the 1960s and 1970s – and many finally embraced the belief that pure capitalism was the best way to ensure social equity, despite the vast evidence challenging this thesis. In contrast, generation x and y are far less likely to burn out; activism is easy with the click of a mouse button.

As a member of Generation X, I don’t find apathy among my peers, but engagement, dedication and a belief in human rights. Perhaps the majority of the world’s population doesn’t care that Israel continues to illegally occupy the Palestinians or that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime tortures dissidents in jail, but the sheer force of powerful images and words transmitted by bloggers, satellite television and alternative media has created an unruly collection of conflicting messages and talking points. These causes are known because they are right and just. Solely relying on establishment news outlets to get informed is no longer a viable option.

Order is the enemy of progress.

Antony Loewenstein is a Gen X, Sydney journalist and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution

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