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.

Getting into Gaza

My following New Matilda article is published today:

While the rest of us toasted the New Year, newmatilda.com correspondent Antony Loewenstein was in Cairo for the Gaza Freedom March

In late December, one year after Israel’s brutal military assault on the Gaza Strip, some 1300 people from 43 countries descended on Cairo to draw attention to the ongoing Israeli- and Egyptian-led siege on Gaza. I attended the Gaza Freedom March along with activists, journalists, writers, Jews, Christians, Rabbis, Imams, atheists, doctors and assorted others.

The situation in Gaza remains dire. Israel continues to launch deadly air raids on the strip while Egypt helps maintain the siege that imprisons 1.5 million people by blocking the supply of aid. Egypt is building an underground wall on its border with Gaza and now Israel is building a wall on its border with Egypt. The Middle East is again being needlessly divided and separated, with vital resources restricted and geopolitical considerations inevitably leading to more conflict.

Disturbingly, another military assault against Gaza is now being predicted.

Perhaps even more disturbingly, a recent online survey on the website of Israel’s most popular television station, Channel 2, indicated that more than half polled wanted Israel to “destroy Gaza”. Meanwhile The Jerusalem Post ran an editorial in early January ridiculing the idea that Gaza was even under siege.

The Gaza Freedom March was an attempt to bring this unsustainable situation to global attention.

Although our plan to enter Gaza was quickly thwarted by Egyptian authorities (only a handful of protestors were finally granted permission to enter) we staged 10 days of demonstrations, actions, hunger strikes and media events in Cairo itself. The Electronic Intifada‘s Ali Abunimah live-blogged throughout.

During these 10 days I spent time with Debbie, an American mother of two in her late 40s whose husband of 18 years is Palestinian. Her story epitomised the way in which Palestine has become one of the most important global issues of our time. She had voted for George W Bush in 2000 and 2004 and relied solely on Fox News for her information about the world. She thought she knew about politics and how it worked. Despite her husband’s background, she had never taken a deep interest in the Palestinian issue.

Sometime in 2008, she started questioning her beliefs. She initially disliked Barack Obama because she heard he was a socialist, a terrorist sympathiser and anti-American. And then Israel started bombing Gaza in late December 2008. Three weeks later, she was a woman reborn. She told me that watching images of bombs falling on Gaza “opened something up inside me”. She started finding YouTube videos of Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn lectures and reading “as much as I could, even neglecting my children sometimes” (both of whom were in Cairo with her, chanting and protesting with vigour).

Debbie’s story was remarkable for its simplicity and transformative power. She was softly spoken, polite and knowledgeable about the conflict. I asked her why she came on the march and if her family and friends thought she was crazy. “I’ve started to really understand my husband’s history and America’s role in the conflict,” she told me. “I felt compelled to come and bring my kids.”

The protest unfolded in entirely unpredictable ways. After Cairo’s rejection of our application for entry into Gaza — and the forced removal of any activists travelling towards the Rafah border — it was decided that we should mobilise publicly. Gathering more than a few people at a political rally is against the law in Egypt (President Mubarak has maintained a state of emergency since his ascension to the leadership in 1981) but organisers assumed that foreigners would be afforded some leniency.

One of the key actions was outside the Journalists’ Syndicate in central Cairo. In front of a tall, imposing building, outspoken Egyptian protestors screamed in outrage against Israel (“Down with Israel!)”, the Egyptian system (“Free Egypt” and “Down with Mubarak”) and against visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (“Boycott Israel” and “Down with Netanyahu”). The siege on Gaza was never forgotten but the foreign media who were present highlighted the bravery of the Egyptian protestors, who were shouting in front of hundreds of assembled riot police. These activists faced serious consequences for dissenting against the brutal Mubarak regime, although they protested seemingly without caution.

I asked a few of them if they feared arrest, torture or worse. They all seemed resigned to the situation and protected by each other’s presence. Before the protest, march organisers had encouraged people to physically hold on to any Egyptians who were being taken by police. On a number of occasions, including in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, I saw foreign activists holding on to the shirts of Egyptians as they were being dragged away by plain-clothed officials.

One Egyptian hunger-striker, Ahmed, told me that he wasn’t afraid of his government, “because it’s my duty to support the Palestinians when others are not”. He was 20 years old and a fluent English speaker. “I feel it is my responsibility as an Arab to stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters in Gaza,” he said. I sensed that many Egyptians shared his view but couldn’t say so publicly.

Mass protests in Cairo were eventually violently shut down by Egyptian officials and a leading declaration that outlined ways to isolate “apartheid Israel” and step up a global campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions was led by South African unionists.

The Gaza Freedom March was obviously not a roaring success. Not getting into Gaza, in-fighting between leaders and indecision on how to best rally the assembled masses all created moments of tension. But as a participant, I left relatively pleased with the event. Global media coverage was extensive, Egypt’s role in Gaza was highlighted and Gaza itself was a focus of intense media scrutiny.

Palestine is slowly gaining prominence as an issue that inspires and focusses worldwide civil society.

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