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.

Gandhi would have been proud over the Gaza march

My following article appears in the Egyptian opposition publication, Al Masry Alyoum:

During my visit to Gaza in July last year, six months after Israel’s devastating assault, I was constantly struck by the resilient nature of its people. Despite 1400 lives lost, including those of many civilians, I found little hatred towards Jews. Instead, I encountered bewilderment that the world has seemingly forgotten the 1.5 million individuals living under Western-backed collective punishment.

Unemployment remains close to 80 percent. I lost count of the number of men who told me their wives begged them every day to leave the house. “Fifteen hundred people were killed during the war,” Nafez al Dabba, a local resident, said. “But more babies than that have been born since, because there is nothing else to do.”

The Gaza Freedom March (GFM), organized by American peace group Code Pink, was a response to this desperate reality. Code Pink are best known for protesting Washington’s militarism across the globe and at home, and the organization led many delegations into Gaza in 2009 to allow average Americans the chance to witness for themselves the situation there.

The GFM aimed to take an international group into Gaza just after the one-year anniversary of Israel’s assault, to join an estimated 50,000 Palestinians inside Gaza on 31 December and demand a lifting of the suffocating siege. It was to be a Gandhi-style response to an intolerable situation: it falls to civil society to alleviate suffering when the political elites fail to behave humanely.

I decided to join the GFM as a human being, a Jew, and an author and journalist. I see myself as neither anti-Israel nor pro-Palestinian, but committed to the human rights of both peoples.

The best-laid plans for the GFM inevitably changed. Close to 1400 international visitors from 42 countries as diverse as America, Britain, Venezuela, Australia, Libya, Japan and the Philippines descended on Cairo on 27 December to leave for the Egyptian/Gaza border the next day. Participants included leading US legal advocate Michael Ratner and European members of parliament.

The US-backed Mubarak regime at the last minute refused to give permission for the journey and ordered the group to disperse. We were told there were “security” concerns and the Rafah crossing would be closed until the New Year.

A few Australians were granted a meeting with their ambassador, Stephanie Shwabsky, who told them she found the situation in Gaza “utterly tragic” but could offer little concrete support.

Egypt’s stalling needed to be protested but the country is undemocratic, with the public meeting of more than a few people considered an illegal act. Perhaps surprisingly, the Egyptian press, both in English and Arabic, extensively covered the public agitations.

It was inspiring and brave during the flying visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to see Egyptian journalists at a rally shouting “Down with Mubarak,” “Boycott Israel” and “Free Egypt,” in the presence of international protestors.

Code Pink initiated massive public meetings and events and began daily discussions with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, the United Nations, various embassies and the global media. Permission was eventually granted for a few freedom marchers to enter Gaza.

Riot police met us at every turn, mostly young men with small moustaches and bad teeth, looking a little nervous and unsure what to think when asked about their views on Palestine. I remember speaking to many Egyptians in 2007 and finding almost universal condemnation of Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel. More than one man told me that he wished Egypt would attack Israel again.

Egypt’s role in the Gaza crisis was automatically a focus of attention. Egypt isolates Hamas, builds an underground wall on the Egyptian/Gaza border, and enforces the siege. “There is a defect in the Egyptian policy,” said Salama Ahmed Salama, editor of the independent Egyptian daily Al Shorouk, “which lead to the brothers becoming the enemy and to treating our enemy as brothers should be treated.”

On 31 December, around 400 internationals “flash mobbed” in a major square in Cairo, and were met with state brutality. I was dragged and violently pushed and some activists received broken ribs and bloody noses. We were protesting peacefully, alongside thousands in Gaza itself and on the Israeli side of the border.

For myself personally, it was important to show to the world that some Jews are appalled by the behavior of Israel and do not share the ideas of Zionist chauvinism and exclusion.

I was particularly moved during the hunger strikes, including one started by 85-year-old Jewish, anti-Zionist Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, which demonstrated how the issue of justice for Palestine has become truly internationalized. Epstein told me that it was her duty as a Jew, especially with her background, to not “remain silent in the face of Israeli atrocities.”

Hearing South African trade unionists, many at the forefront of ending apartheid in their country, discuss tactics to end “apartheid Israel” was representative of the growing global movement of isolating Israel.

Gandhi would have been proud.

Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney journalist and the author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution

3 comments ↪
  • Shaun

    You're probably right to a certain extent.  In 1938 as the fires of Kristallnacht were raging and the writing was already on the war for anyone who cared to see, Gahndi infamously wrote of those Jews trying to reach safety "Why should they not, like other peoples of the earth, make that country their home where they are born and where they earn their livelihood?".  Wise man my ass.  Thank God many Jews decided to ignore his sage advice and instead reached the safety of their ancestral homeland while their relatives remained to be slaughtered in the diaspora.   

    You also conveniently ignored the two central pillars of Gandis political theory. Complete and utter rejection of violence and total opposition to religious nationalism. We all know you casually accuse Israel of both but there is no doubt that Gandi would be repelled and appaulled by the 'Palestinians' refinement and celebration of the deliberate targeting, and murderous slaughter of innocents. I also suspect that he might have a thing or two to say about the centrality of Islam in the platforms of Hamas and Fatah. 

  • Imad

    Shaun, Gandhi did give a mention about the use of violence that the Arabs used back in the 1930's: "I am not defending the Arab excesses. I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regarded as an unwarrantable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds. " (source :http://www.kamat.com/mmgandhi/mideast.htm)
     

    I think that it is true more so today.

  • Shaun

    The terrors commited by the Arabs in the 1930s were nothing compared to the horrors that they would come to inflict around the world in later years.  Gandhi would have been disgusted at the way these bloody murderers have tried to co-opt his message of peace and non-violence.