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.

GFM claims success in flying the flag for Gaza

My following article appears in today’s Crikey:

I attended the Gaza Freedom March (GFM)  in late December to generate publicity for the disastrous Western-led policies towards Palestine. 1400 people from 43 countries descended on Cairo on December 27 and aimed to travel into Gaza to “break the siege”.

Palestine has become a truly globalised issue and the diversity of participants — from America, Australia, Venezuela, Cameroon, France, Italy and many others — proved that civil society is leading an issue that Western governments are refusing to address.

I travelled to the Middle East as a Jew, human being and journalist.

It was soon clear that Egypt had no intention of allowing the group into Gaza and cited “security” concerns. The Mubarak regime, the recipient of more than $US2 billion annually from Washington, is fearful of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Palestinian offshoot, Hamas.

Furthermore, Israel is indirectly negotiating with Hamas, via Egypt, over a prisoner swap deal that would see the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Shalit for up to 1000 Palestinian prisoners. This is the political context in which the GFM took place.

GFM organisers Code Pink, an American peace group dedicated to ending Washington’s militarism, were faced with the daunting task of organising protests, actions, hunger strikes and media appearances to condemn Cairo’s intransigence and Gaza’s plight.

Performing in a police state was no easy task. Egyptian thugs were in force wherever we appeared, from outside the US embassy to camping outside the French Embassy for five days. It was fascinating to observe the disparate groups trying to find consensus over the best course of action.

One of most moving moments for me was spending time with 85-year-old Jewish, anti-Zionist Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein, a woman of remarkable strength and character. She embarked on a hunger strike in solidarity with the people of Gaza and  generated global headlines for the cause  and issued a humanitarian message.

Epstein told me that she had received great criticism from the organised American, Jewish community — “I’m regularly called an anti-Semite and Israel hater” — but she remained determined to criticise Israel along with other countries. “Why is it not possible to condemn Israeli actions?” she asked. She was a gentle woman who longed to visit Gaza and bring aid to its people.

The week culminated in an event on December 31, a “flash mob” in the centre of Cairo at Tahrir Square. About 500 of us gathered casually in the morning before rushing to a pre-determined position in front of the Egyptian Museum. It was a sight to behold, as traffic was stopped and the group started marching down the road. Security forces raced to break up the gathering but took time to encircle the crowd.

Plain-clothed, government thugs soon started violently kicking, shoving and dragging activists to the sidewalk. I was slightly hit on the back and legs but others were less lucky, with broken ribs and bloody noses. Within 20 minutes, the protest was a lead story on Al-Jazeera and across the world. Mission accomplished.

In many ways, the GFM was forced to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances. Splits between American and European groups occurred — not helped by the decision of the Egyptian regime to allow a small group of protesters into Gaza  — but overall the focus remained on Gaza.

The aim of the event was not simply to protest in the streets of Cairo but to take meaningful action back to our respective countries. The Cairo Declaration, led by a formidable South African delegation, was drafted and released to a welcoming crowd. Aside from highlighting Israeli “apartheid” in the occupied territories today, it offers concrete steps forward including a global tour to increase knowledge of South Africa’s pedigree in fighting racial discrimination and adapting those tactics against Israel.

“You’re platinum,” said Mick Napier, chairperson of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Committee to the South African delegates. “You don’t understand your prestige among activists and trade unions”.

Unsurprisingly, the GFM was filled with disagreements, in-fighting and pressure from Hamas on the handful who were eventually allowed by Egypt into Gaza, but these were minor compared to the achievement of generating global and regional headlines over Gaza and pressuring the international community over its failure to lift the suffocating siege on the Strip.

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

4 comments ↪
  • jonathon miller

    This post is not related to this article. It is a link to an article that I wanted to bring to tour attention.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/10/iran-
    regards

  • The New Rome

    Jonathon Miller is using  a tactic that all supporters of Isreal do and that's to create canon fodder in order to divert the reader from the real issue at hand. Both Israel and Iran are Theocracies, the only difference is that Israel pretends to be a Democracy.  

  • jonathon miller

    No, I am not a supporter of Israel. Antony regularly posts articles relating to the current situation in Iran, and I simply noticed that this one might be a good addition to his blog. The reason I posted the link here is simply because there was no other way that I could alert him to the article and this was the most current article in the blog.

  • Pingback: A LETTER FROM DOWN UNDER…… MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES ON THE GAZA FREEDOM MARCH « Desertpeace()