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.

This Passover, being Jewish is a painful affair

I applaud critical Jewish voices, the more the merrier.

Welcome Lawrie Zion, Australian writer, academic and proud Jew. The fear of speaking out against Israeli immorality is decreasing by the day:

Some of my happiest times have been at the Passover table. Even for a relatively non-observant Jew like me, participation in a Seder has enhanced my sense of connection with my community, especially those shared with close friends who I have had the privilege to know since I was a child several decades ago.

The Passover story, which commemorates the departure of the Jews from their enslavement in Egypt, reminds us of the value of self-determination and freedom from oppression.

But when Passover begins in less than two weeks I will not be celebrating, because the disjuncture between what this festival is about and the reality of what is happening in modern Israel cannot be reconciled.

More than anything else, I cannot bring myself to be part of an even symbolic rendition of the line that punctuates every Seder – “Next Year in Jerusalem”.

I cannot utter these words while long-term Arab residents such as Nasser Jaber are thrown out of their homes in East Jerusalem. The house was invaded by settlers last year while Jaber spent four nights away while his house was being renovated.

I cannot utter these words when the Israeli government signals further turmoil to Arab residents by announcing plans to build another 1600 new homes in East Jerusalem – a provocation that just happened to coincide with the visit of the US Vice-President, who was attempting to reinvigorate the peace process.

I cannot say “Next Year in Jerusalem” when Israel refuses to discuss the serious suspicions that Mossad stole the identity of Diaspora Jews during the recent assassination of a Hamas militant in Dubai. (And I’m not laughing at the fact that an Israeli supermarket chain has seen fit to satirise the whole episode by spoofing the surveillance footage in a recent advertising campaign that culminates with the line ‘We offer killer prices’.)

I don’t expect that my personal boycott of Passover will achieve anything at all. But I believe that those Jews – and I don’t think I’m alone here – who feel alienated by the behaviour of the Israeli government and the excesses of the settler movement should feel free to make a gesture of silence this Passover instead of following the rituals of the festival.

I look forward to saying “Next Year in Jerusalem” at a time when Israel’s government acknowledges the values that Passover is meant to represent.

Dr Lawrie Zion is a Senior Lecturer and coordinator of the Journalism degree program at La Trobe University.

6 comments ↪
  • Shaun

    What a schmuck.  'Next year in Jerusalem' originates from the fact that the entire Jewish population would make the annual pilgrimage to the temple in Jerusalem to observe the festival.  This was more than a thousand years before the first Arabs invaded the region.  The salutation 'l'shanah haba'ah Yirushalayim' was common at the time, was common during the diaspora, and is common today.  It predates any 'Palestinian' by about three thousand years and tying himself in knots to try and link this simple tradition to the Arab/Israeli conflict makes about as much sense as boycotting the phrase "Merry Christmas" because you want to see more abortions.  Oh well, I'm sure this 'non-observant Jew' and his twisted logic will be sorely missed at Seder table this year when real Jews are actually celebrating the exodus and the restoration of the Jewish homeland.   

  • Mallee

    I think Mr. Zion is simply expressing his feeling  of embarrassment due to the actions of the Israel government that he refers to. I do not see any knots that deserves him to be  called a schmuk, then again I am just a simple gentile goyin and infidel and know little.

    One question though, did the  Arsckenazi in South Russia celebrate the salutation; 'I'shanah haba'ah Yirushalayim' , three thousand years ago?

  • Marilyn

    No they didn't Mallee, there were not Ashkenazi's 3,000 years ago.

    The passover is a fairy tale people, the so-called jewish population of Jerusalem was  a few thousand at most and Palestine was part of Egypt anyway.

    The passover is as real as the virgin birth.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

     

    Marilyn: regardless of the Passover's authenticity, I salute Lawrie for standing up for what is right.

     

    Nice one Lawrie.

     

  • Shaun

    No Mallee, there were no Jews in Southern Russia 3000 years ago because at that stage they were all living happily in a land called Israel (naturally this was before the Arabs came to steal their land).

    As for Marilyn's pearls of crap, actually Pesach was real and was celebrated by tens of thousands of Jews in the capital Jerusalem, just as they do today.  These are simple historical facts disputed only by the clinically ignorant.  I think you are meaning to say that the inspiration behind the celebration of Pesach was fiction.  Perhaps it was, but that in no way diminishes the reality of three thousand years of continuous Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.  Of course all  of this was a thousand years before an illiterate pedophilic goat hearder named Mohammed went for a wander in the desert and had a halucination telling him he was God's prophet.

  • Well done Mr Zion!  Thank you for your example.  The lesson/metaphor of Passover is not lost on you.  Passover is about Freedom!  Sadly some limit this freedom to their own narrow group.  If only they could see that true freedom involved reciprocity – we each hold the freedom of our neighbour in each others hand.  It is not something you can just keep to yourself.  You do so at your own peril – morally, politically, religiously or ideologically.
    http://jewishpeaceactivists.blogspot.com/