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.

Leading Israeli, mainstream commentator: apartheid is here

Times are changing and fast.

Israel’s largest circulation daily, Yediot, featured yesterday a startling article that dared utter the “A” word, apartheid. The paper’s legal affairs editor wrote the following article (provided to me in translation via an Israeli source):

Apartheid is here / The forbidden road

Op-ed, Boaz Okon, Yediot, November 8 2009

Israel is not an apartheid state, which is why it will never have separate roads for Arabs and Israelis. This is why it must not have, not even in the territories, two separate legal systems for Jews and Palestinians.

Two lines are all it takes to nullify the apartheid regime in the territories. There is no reason to explain too much. It is self evident.

Had the High Court of Justice ruled that way in the affair of the exclusively Jewish road, its ruling would have joined a series of historic judicial statements. It would have been equal to the statement by Lord Mansfield, one of the greatest jurors ever, who established in the 1771 Somerset verdict that slavery is illegal, and was cited as saying: “The air of England is too pure for any slave to breathe.” It could have matched the verdict of the US Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. Board of Education which, in just a few pages, abolished racial segregation. If you will, it could be on par with Hillel the Elder, who summed up the entire Torah with a single phrase: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. Now go and learn the rest.”

The court, however, chose a different path. It established that the arrangement that bans Arab entry into a segment of Road 3256 is wrong, but instead of ruling against the very segregation and declaring it wrong, the court weighed the benefits of that segregation against its potential damage and established that the total closure of the roads to Arabs, which was meant to protect some 150 Israelis who live there and use that road, is disproportionate because it impairs on the normal life of thousands of Palestinian residents.

The court thus ruled against this specific arrangement, but its ruling was still based on the assumption that segregation is allowed. The apartheid regime has already been implanted in our subconscious minds. All that is left to do now is to check whether it is proportionate.

The Family Court went a step further in another affair where it discussed a case of two Christian-Arab girls aged 7 and 10 whose mother registered to a Jewish school of arts that is attended by Arabs too, though few. Their father demanded that they go to an all-Arab school. The girls asked the court to let them stay in the arts school. The court ruled that in the end of this school year, the girls will be transferred to the Arab school.

This may possibly be the inevitable solution, given that particular family situation, but it is interesting to see how naturally segregation is accepted in Israel. The court established: “Our point of departure is that national identity is a very important element… of a child’s world.” It endorsed the stand of the social worker, according to which their identity as Christian-Arabs “will accompany them for the rest of their lives, which is why there is good reason to establish this identity through their education, and one way to express that would be incorporating the minors in a school that matches their identity.” The underlying assumption here is that observing national identity requires segregation, which is sanctified and presented as a basic right that needs protection. Not a word was said about the disadvantages of segregation.

Segregation is charging at us from the territories, where apartheid already exists because there are two judiciary systems there. The court could have quelled that phenomenon by unequivocally ruling against separate roads. It did not, and thus created a situation whereby practical separation has turned into legal segregation.

This is how basic assumptions are forgotten. It is impossible to attain equality by way of segregation. No cheap haggling or calculating cost against benefit could justify the existence of two separate justice systems, one for Arabs and one for Jews. The use of the proportionality principle might create an impression of an implicit legalization of segregation on other, more “proportional” roads.

We must remember: We cannot have such a road.

one comment ↪
  • ej

    Excellent stuff, but still a bit too Talmudic for my liking.

    moving, but a long way to go.

    Israel is an apartheid state root and branch. By construction. Application of the A word does not depend on road access.

    We have slow learners all over the place.

    In the 22 October issue of the New York Review of Books, some well known arty types – Vanessa Redgrave, Julian Schnabel, Martin Sherman – wrote to hotly condemn the critics of the hasbara-oiled Tel Aviv film roadshow in Toronto.  Quote:

    "The protesters use the term 'apartheid regime.' We oppose the current Israeli government, but it is a government. Freely elected. Not a regime. Words matter."

    Indeed they do. As if apartheid depends on elections. Not least in a country (as elsewhere) that, no matter who you vote for, the same system prevails. 

    Once again, a read of Uri Davis' Apartheid Israel is instructive. Even just the early section.

    Re the ugly A word. glass half empty or half full? An optimist would claim that at least it's in the lexicon. Now eating away at the lies and the self-rigtheousness. 

    Just get on with it.