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.

The Jewish background of Aceh

My following article is published in Crikey:

In the shadow of Aceh’s tsunami memorial museum sits a colonial, Dutch-era cemetery. Framed by overgrown grass and red flowers, graves lie disjoined, the result, I was told by writer Fozan Santa, of time and the tsunami’s raging water. At the back of the space, behind ornate statues to famed generals and soldiers, are four Jewish graves. Hebrew script and the Star of David run across the graves. These four Jews died in the 1800s and 1900s and remain in peace today in the heart of a devoutly Islamic society.

Many Acehnese know about them,” Fozan said. “Holland sends funds to maintain the cemetery.”

It was not what I expected in a province ruled under sharia law. Although Jews are an abstraction and almost solely defined through brutal Israeli actions, I found no outright hatred of Judaism.

Fozan, with wavy shoulder-length hair, revealed that his definition of Islam was as contradictory and personal as could be. I asked whether he drank alcohol during a recent Ubud Writers and Readers Festival and he said he only asked for Coke. However, his friend, a Muslim from Jakarta, consumed wine and beer. “I’m Acehnese, not Muslim,” Fozan said. “I don’t drink alcohol but many Muslims do. We’re different.”

It was yet another sign that the Acehnese saw themselves as distinct from their Indonesian rulers. Jakarta may now control their lives but an independent streak still runs through the veins of the province.

Within minutes of arriving in Banda Aceh, my young hosts  — three girls in the final year of school, two of whom wore colourful headscarves  — were playfully asking me about girlfriends and life in the West. I was reticent to broach the subject of female circumcision but they were happy to take questions. One girl was mutilated at birth, “because it’s tradition and my mother said she had no choice”. She knew all about the reduced sexual feeling of the procedure but seemed resigned to the reality. They asked if I was circumcised.

That night I spent time at a cultural centre to watch rehearsals for a performance that will soon tour villages. It was aimed primarily at children as a way to teach Acehnese history before and after the 2004 tsunami. Resistance to the Dutch colonialists was a strong theme and the actors used bananas as ships as they stood inside a massively over-sized television set. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment was referenced (my host said that many locals knew the work.)

Although cinemas are banned, pirated DVDs were widely available, including the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Like I noticed in Iran, images of American women in various states of undress were ubiquitous on covers. The Desperate Housewives women seemed to be missing quite a few buttons on their blouses. Satellite television and the internet makes the imposition of strict bans on “unIslamic” entertainment futile. Most people I met were proud to call themselves Muslim but tapped into the connected world that included nudity, violence and sexual proclivities.

During a public forum on writing and culture at a Western-style café in Banda Aceh — featuring my talk about Palestine and two guitarists who played songs eerily reminiscent of Nirvana’s Something in the Way — a young blogger said it was inappropriate to look at female nudity and porn. “We must have a moral responsibility,” he said. But others, commenting on a young artist who had recently caused controversy by painting female nudes, argued it wasn’t the role of society to tell artists what to paint. “As long as you’re true to yourself,” a girl said. It was a civil discussion over various interpretations of Islam that fundamentalists deemed unnecessary, even blasphemous.

Challenging these allegedly acceptable forms of Islam is Violet Gray, a support group for homosexuals and transsexuals. Understanding HIV and sexual orientation is something the Indonesian web does brilliantly and allows Acehnese of a particular orientation to feel less alone. We see similar trends in countless other societies (such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and China) where persecuted minorities gather to share and grieve.

Writer, teacher and publisher Fozan acknowledged the major shifts in his society since 2004 but lamented the lack of readers for his work. “We have too many writers here,” he said. “Everybody is just changing Facebook status updates every few minutes. Aceh is like France years ago when people used to use coffee shops to write books.”

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