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.

If Israel calls itself a democracy it has to act like one

Following my letter in last week’s Australian supporting the targeted boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, Labor MP Michael Danby responds:

Antony Loewenstein and Jake Lynch (The Australian, Letters blog, 22 September) criticise Philip Mendes and Nick Dyrenfurth for their opposition to the campaign for “boycott, disinvestment and sanctions” directed at Israel. But they fail to address the central issue pointed out by Mendes and Dyrenfurth – the hypocritical and one-sided nature of this campaign.

Sudan has killed at least 400,000 civilians in its genocidal war in Darfur. Russia killed about 40,000 people in its two brutal wars against Chechnya. Millions of people are suffering under dictatorships in Burma, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria and others. Protesters are being shot down in the streets in Tibet, East Turkistan and Iran.

Are Loewenstein and Lynch calling for academic, cultural or communications boycotts against these countries? No, they’re not. Only Israel is so uniquely evil that it merits such treatment. The Israel-Palestinian conflict, which over the past 20 years has caused approximately 8,000 deaths (a third of them Israelis), is apparently worse than Darfur and Chechnya, worse indeed than anything else in the world.

Loewenstein and Lynch’s attack on the Australian columnists do serve a useful purpose in drawing out their real purposes. Firstly the perversity of the Director of Sydney University’s “Peace” Institute, which backs boycotts of Israeli academics rather than enhancing peace between the parties, could now not be starker.

Loewenstein’s support for the elimination of Israel coded as support for a one state solution shows that he was trying to sucker the few hundred who signed his Independent Jewish Voices “two state declaration”. Either way no serious Australian policy maker takes seriously ideas of boycotting Israeli academics and universities.

Michael Danby MHR is Federal Member for Melbourne Ports

My original piece addresses many of the issues inherent in this letter. Always remember the first rule of dogmatic Zionism: change the subject, never talk about the occupation and ignore the gross human rights abuses in the occupied territories.

UPDATE: Here’s Jake Lynch’s response:

I picture apologists for Israel’s serial breaches of international law, like Michael Danby, huddling together in an overheated room somewhere, getting terribly excited when they feel they’ve hit upon a particularly convincing argument, and sallying forth into the real world, certain it’s going to prove persuasive, only to stumble over the one obvious point they forgot.
I’ll let him down gently, then. He may be amazed to learn that, when I was going around, persuading people to boycott South Africa in the 1980s, I was not wholly oblivious to the human rights abuses being endured by the people of Iraq, El Salvador and many others.
In the words of Naomi Klein, boycott is not a dogma: it’s a tactic. The reason for trying it on Israel is that it might work, which is why Danby and his ilk are getting so uptight about it.
Israel presently enjoys impunity for its crimes, which incentivises repetition. End the impunity through BDS and it becomes clear that carrying on the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestinian territory is not in Israel’s interests. That would be a first.

I picture apologists for Israel’s serial breaches of international law, like Michael Danby, huddling together in an overheated room somewhere, getting terribly excited when they feel they’ve hit upon a particularly convincing argument, and sallying forth into the real world, certain it’s going to prove persuasive, only to stumble over the one obvious point they forgot.

I’ll let him down gently, then. He may be amazed to learn that, when I was going around, persuading people to boycott South Africa in the 1980s, I was not wholly oblivious to the human rights abuses being endured by the people of Iraq, El Salvador and many others.

In the words of Naomi Klein, boycott is not a dogma: it’s a tactic. The reason for trying it on Israel is that it might work, which is why Danby and his ilk are getting so uptight about it.

Israel presently enjoys impunity for its crimes, which incentivises repetition. End the impunity through BDS and it becomes clear that carrying on the brutal and illegal occupation of Palestinian territory is not in Israel’s interests. That would be a first.

4 comments ↪
  • ej

    The number of publications devoted to being Jewish is staggering.  With all this self-flagellating introspection, no wonder the participants don't have much of a handle on the outside world.

    And note how the lead graphic conflates an anti-Jewish push with the current moves against a pariah state that happens to be run by Jews. 

    These fuckers of course have no self-respect.  They can't even get right the character of the proposed boycott.

    The bizarre thing is that the Zionist lobby is happy to claim Jewry in general as being supportive of Israeli criminality (while simultaneously excommunicating all detractors with venom), without confronting the moral implications.

    If Jewry is thus defined, i.e. as being synonymous with an unrepentant support of a criminal state (whose  raison d'être is ethnic cleansing), albeit dragging along as a rump buffer those who are squeamish but throw up their hands in powerless while finding comfort in the appropriate platitudes of mild angst against that criminality, there is ipso facto a rational basis for anti-Semitism.

    To repeat the dictum from the (Jewish) philosopher Michael Neumann:

    'The more anti-Semitism expands to include opposition to Israeli policies, the better it looks. Given the crimes to be laid at the feet of Zionism, there is another simple syllogism: anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is a moral obligation.'

  • Adam

    "Sudan has killed at least 400,000 civilians in its genocidal war in Darfur. Russia killed about 40,000 people in its two brutal wars against Chechnya. Millions of people are suffering under dictatorships in Burma, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria and others. Protesters are being shot down in the streets in Tibet, East Turkistan and Iran."


    One thing which separates the above is that our government isn't supporting and encouraging the brutal and criminal activities in Darfur, Chechnya, Burma, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria, the Chinese annexations or Iran. Nor is it attempting to deflect, distort and discourage criticism of the above.
    In the case of Israel the reverse is true.
    Following, as it did,  a ruthless starvation policy of Gaza which lead directly into a senselessly brutal military assault against the ailing infrastructure of the same district, to arrange for a delegation to visit Israel with the purpose of deepening our trade relations between our countries is nothing short of encouraging Israel's brutality and soothing any concerns that international law might one day come to include the Israeli military.
    Australia is directly complicit in Israeli crimes against humanity. If the Australian government refuses to condemn acts of blatant viciousness then is the moral duty of all people of conscience to act on their own behalf.

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  • iResistDe4iAm

    "The Israel-Palestinian conflict, which over the past 20 years has caused approximately 8,000 deaths (a third of them Israelis) …"

     

    The Israel-Palestine conflict did not start 20 years ago. It has its roots in the early 20th Century and officially started 61 years ago when Israel ethnically cleansed a majority of the indigenous Palestinians, destroyed their villages, towns and neighbourhoods, and wiped Palestine off the map. Israel was built on the rubble, corpses, blood and tears of Palestine, and Israel continues to occupy and oppress, expand and colonise using its overwhelming military supremecy. As well as Palestinians, there's also tens of thousands of Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese and other Arab victims of Israel.

     

    And let's not forget the Israeli victims. But with a kill rate ranging from 20:1 in the 1967 Six Day War, 9:1 in the 2006 Lebanon War, and 102:1 in the 2008/09 Gaza massacre, why would Israel refrain from using its weapons of mass destruction, which it used to such brutally devastating effects in its most recent wars. 

     

    There are alternatives of course. However, Israel has ignored and refuses to comply with international law or any UN Resolutions relating to Palestine, for example, General Assembly Resolution 194 (1948), Security Council Resolutions 242 (1967) and 338 (1973).

     

    Like the US, Israel may not do body counts, but the victims of Israel and the US do, and they're still counting.