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.

Watching Jews walk off a cliff with their eyes open

Bernard Avishai asks some questions that too few Jews in the public sphere are considering:

I confess feeling a twinge of pathos when I heard on Reshet Bet radio this morning how Benjamin Netanyahu told his AIPAC audience in Washington that the Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3000 years ago, would continue doing so today, and then hearing the crowd roar its delight.

These are not stupid people. They are serious people. They know, surely, that the construction in contention is in East Jerusalem neighborhoods that threaten to entirely cut off 300,000 Palestinians from their families and commercial opportunities in the West Bank. They know that any effort to keep these neighborhoods, or preserve the status quo, will result in Bosnian style violence. They know that this violence would further undermine American interests in the region.

They know that 41% of Israelis (its professional elites, disproportionately) oppose this construction, even if a slightly larger number favor it, so that, at best, continuing Netanyahu’s policy will tear the country apart. They know that Israeli governments have wasted $17 billion on a settlement project that might have been invested in Israel proper, including West Jerusalem. They know that Israel has no way of remaining a democracy if settlements continue and a peace deal, including partition of Jerusalem, is not forthcoming. (Kadima’s Haim Ramon followed the report of Netanyahu’s speech on Reshet Bet and made all of these points himself.)

They know that, as Ehud Olmert told me himself, he and Palestinian President Abbas had already held advanced discussions over a formula for sharing Jerusalem; that his formula entailed keeping the city physically intact, but allowing Palestinian neighborhoods to revert to the sovereignty of a Palestinian state, while the Holy Basin fell under the custodianship of Israel, the United States, and Arab countries, including Palestine. They know that Jerusalem would, ideally, be a capital for two highly interdependent states; and that whether or not Jerusalem will be an international city in any formal sense, it’s security in the long run will require the presence of international forces.

They also know, finally, that American Jews have about as much in common with King David’s iron age Israelites as American Chinese have with the Shang Dynasty. They know that it was the fanaticism and corruption of Judean kingdoms that lost Jerusalem. They know that, since then, normative Judaism has seen Jerusalem as a moral ideal, like Utopia, not a material place; and that Zionism was meant to valorize a modern Jewish nation, not an ancient land. They know that the Passover festival begins next week, and Jews everywhere will explain to their children why freedom is a universal principle. So what exactly were they cheering?

I do not mean to ask this question cynically. There is some kind of hole in the heart that backing Netanyahu over “Jerusalem” seems to be filling. There are intelligent and decent people gathered at AIPAC, and many young people who are eager to stand for something. What is it, other than the insistence that they, who “didn’t do anything,” fiercely admire Israelis who did something?

9 comments ↪
  • ej

    Israel has no way of remaining a democracy if settlements continue …

    Israel is not and never was a democracy. Even Avishai is clouded on so basic an issue of political structure.

    They know that it was the fanaticism and corruption of Judean kingdoms that lost Jerusalem.

    Compare Avnery's latest in Gush Shalom:

    Some 1942 years ago, the Jews in the province called Palaestina launched a revolt against the Roman Empire. In retrospect, this looks like an act of madness. … God knows what was going on in the mind of the “Zealots”. They eliminated the moderate leaders, who warned against provoking the empire, and gained sway over the Jewish population of the country.

    And what was at stake? From Paul Johnson's A History of Christianity [asks Johnson, might Judaism have become a world religion if Christianity had not intervened?]:

    But the God of the Jews was still alive and roaring in his Temple, demanding blood, making no attempt to conceal his racial and primitive origins. …

    nothing could hide the essential business of the Temple, which was the ritual slaughter, consumption and combustion of sacrifical cattle on a gigantic sscale. … To the unprepared visitor, the dignity and charity of Jewish diaspora life, the thoughtful comments and homilies of the Alexandrian synagogue, was quite lost amid the smoke of the pyres, the bellows of terrified beasts, the sluices of blood, the abattoir stench, the unconcealed and unconcealable machinery of tribal religion inflated by modern wealth to an industrial scale. …

    Diaspora Judaism, liberal and outward-minded, contained the matrix of a universal religion, but only if it could be cut off from its barbarous origins …

    So this is the glorious heritage on which modern Zionism bases its desired present and future.

    The only difference is that the Palestinians have replaced the cattle.

  • Marilyn

    And all this biblical stuff is bollocks, as is the so-called passover and exile.

    Fancy stealing another country based on myths and garbage.

    Shlomo Sand was interviewed by Philip Adams last night about his marvellous book that I read this year.

    Everyone should get hold of a copy and all jews should leave Palestine, it is not theirs and never has been.

  • Imad

    First to Marilyn,

    While i haven't read Shlomo Sand's book, i know at least that the conclusion he came to was not that the Jews should leave Palestine, but that Israel should become a state of its peoples, and not for Jews only.

     

    Mr. Avishai's article does reinforce the notion that the Israelis at large aren't going to put the occupation down. Only external pressure – read: the US gov't – can help end the occupation.

  • Shaun

    Funny how ej condemns Jewish rituals that were abandonded thousands of years ago and yet he has nothing to say about the way the Muslim world treats animals in this day and age including for their bloody religeous rituals.  One rare decent piece of jouranalism from 60 Minutes highlighted the inhumanity of the Arab treatment of animals for ritual slaughter just a couple of years ago.  Their women fare about the same if god-forbid they decide to behave in an "unaceptable" manner.

  • Marilyn

    Shaun so what?  Israel treats the Palestinian children worse than muslims treat frigging sheep for food.

    And let's talk about Haredi women forced to breed like rabbits until they die early deaths, or orthodox who can't get divorces unless hubby says so.

    Do get over the bigotry.

    And those dual national jews who have other countries they lived in until the last 5 minutes can go home and give the land they are squatting on back to the Palestinian owners, they are such fruit loops no self respecting person would let them live next door to them anywhere else in the world.

    Being jewish, a mere cult, does not give them carte blanche to steal, maim and murder at will and the rest of the world should be ashamed of themselves for letting the Palestinians pay for our frigging crimes.

  • Shaun

    Jews originate from Judea and Samaria.  Having their land stolen by the Arabs doesn't mean that it doesn't still belong to them.  They have liberated their ancestral homeland and all Jews who were forced into the diaspora are welcome to return to their homeland.  Get over it.

    I am squatting on land that Aboriginals lived on for thousands of years before me.  I didn't steal it from them, nor did my parents or grandparents or great grandparents etc but somewhere down the line in the distant past, it was stolen from its original inhabitants.  I live here happily on land that was stolen from another people and if the indigenous population should ever get their act together and liberate this land from me and regain it for themselves, they certainly would be morally entitled to do so.  The aboriginals are entitled to get their land back irrespective if we have been here for twenty years, 200 years or 2000 years.  We are occupiers of another peoples land just the same as the Arabs are the occupiers of the Jewish people's land. 

  • ej

    No Jewish land was stolen by Arabs, period.

    There is more early Jewishness in the indigenous Arab populations than that in the olim.

    Who is a Jew? Mass historic conversions and inter-marriage makes 'jews' mongrels like the rest of us.

    This racist colonialist ethnic cleansing is no different to that of Nazi lebensraum.

    Time to shed your debased tribalism Shaun and acquire the rudiments of a moral code.

  • Shaun

    Might want to do a little bit of reading before you make such moronic statements for all the world to see.  Yes, the Arabs did steal Jewish land.  The swarmed into Judea and Samaria in 636 AD and stole the land from it's indigenous Jewish inhabitants.  The entire region is covered by Jewish ruins that pre-date the Arab conquest by nearly two thousand years.  It is no strange coincidence that the names of Arab villages in the area are corruptions of their original Hebrew names.  I'm not even sure why I even bother responding to you though because experience has shown that people who are quick to throw around Nazi phraseology and comparissons rarely have any moral code whatsoever.

  • ej

    And the earlier invasion of the region by jews?

    another terra nullius myth, wiping the polyglot inhabitants from history.

    This prior ownership thingy is just so much bullshit.

    As for the Nazi legacy, who else but the zionists have carried on the legacy of the lebensraum motif? if the shoe fits, wear it.

    Israel has led to otherwise normal human beings talking shit, denying their intelligence, denying their humanity, supporting the most heinous of actions against others.

    When is enough enough?