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.

What we have lost without Tony Judt

Phil Weiss at Mondoweiss pens an appropriately moving obituary for Tony Judt and his massive contribution to the American understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict.

Judt refused to subscribe to Zionist loyalty simply because he was Jewish. He provoked, advocated a one-state solution, challenged the Israel lobby and displayed the finest qualities of Judaism.

We only ever had brief contact on email but Judt was always generous and inquisitive.

one comment ↪
  • Mike Reich

    The one-state solutions to problems in the Mid-East and elsewhere have a long history as a legacy of European imperialism. Ever since the British and French drew almost arbitrary boundaries carving up the Middle-East and Africa creating single states combining various ethnicities, trouble almost invariably followed sooner or later. The borders of Iraq may been convenient for the British but they included the Kurds inside Iraq the north separated from their fellow Kurds in Turkey. They also managed to put large groups who had fundamental religious differences (Sunni and Shia) into the same state (never mind the marsh Arabs etc.). Much of the chaos of the Middle-East (Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, mandated Palestine) and Africa (Rwanda, Congo etc.) arose when separatist movements appeared or ethnic, tribal and religious differences caused conflict. Many other the countries avoided wholesale violence due to a strong dictatorial government. Syria is a good example of the latter with a country run dictatorially by a minority Alawite sect.

    Maybe I never realized that a solution to the grim intractable problems of the Middle East is so evidently simple vis-à-vis such a single state solution. Is this a revival of the secular democratic state which got a run in the 70’s and 80’s? I was puzzled by the logic for such a state as being a suitable solution then and I am now even more puzzled, however the concept of a secular democratic state in this part of the Middle-East so readily lends itself to humour which is greatly needed as the situation in the Middle-East is normally so grim.

     

    At that earlier time Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc. were not on the radar, so the secular bit will now be a tougher ask than when the idea was first floated. But all is not lost. Significant elements on both sides seem to be in agreement that a one state solution is ideal. The Likud and its followers believe in a one state solution (they may have scaled down their ambitions to include the territories east of the Jordan river) while Hamas has its own version that encompass the entire disputed region. Now I believe commentators such as Mr Lowenstein has sufficient credibility for at least one side, that he could be usefully involved in negotiations to convince Hamas to embrace a power sharing arrangement with Netanyah and Lieberman. I will do my utmost to do likewise, with my admittedly little influence, to convince the other party to freeze the settlements etc.. However, in light of the well documented difficulties Hamas has had reconciling with their Palestinian authority colleagues in their dispute (as attested by the number of deaths, imprisonment and the use of torture in their internecine war), I find it hard to believe, not even a Lowenstein harangue, could convince them (if they survived) to sit down with the Zionist enemy. As a prelude to reconciliation it would be a good start towards a secular solution if he could convince Hamas to disown their charter and to reject Sharia Law.

     

    A devotee of the one state model Saree Makdisi visited Australia a year or so ago. Saree Makdisi’s sentiments appear to be so noble (“ a one-state solution with equal rights for all its citizens” – how could you argue with this?). Alas the devil’s in the detail! How do the advocates of a single state solution propose to create the moderate environment that could sustain such a state? Does the plan involve forceful ejection of the extremists of both sides as a pre-existing condition, or maybe a death match with winner takes all or a deadlock with only the moderates surviving? I guess if the experiment fails one could bring back the British to put a lid on things (both sides would love this – how do you say “Oy Vay!” in Arabic?) or take advantage of the US’s military experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Makdisi’s suggestion of one state models based on Australia and America also indicates he must be a devotee of the theatre of the absurd school of history in light of these country’s remarkable dissimilarities to any currently residing in the Middle East, in particular their origins, histories, demographics and so on. I was surprised he did not suggest Switzerland which was the model for a one state solution fashionable in the 70s (the Lebanese solution was really on the nose at that time) but could be revived despite the lack of snow covered mountains and yodelling. The nuclear fallout shelters could be extremely useful for both sides if they choose a one state solution a bit too secular for the liking of Mr Ahmadinejad. A much more relevant example with more obvious parallels is the former state of Yugoslavia which was an attempt to unify diverse national and religious groupings into a single state . The end result of this (disregarding minor issues such as civil war, ethnic cleansing etc.) was such a success that again I am surprised that Makdisi did not suggest the resurrection of the Yogoslav state combined with disinterment of Marshal Tito. The Kosovoans would undoubtedly be impressed by the idea of returning to live as a minority in a Serbian dominated single state

    One could prattle on forever about the ludicrousness of the one state solution. Maybe the advocates of the single state solution should practice first with something less intractable than Israel/Palestine. The Zionists and Palestinians are political and religious polar opposites so the democratic secularization of a country like Iraq where the main constituents only differ in their interpretation of Islam, should be trifling (disregarding that these differences in interpretation resulted in the deaths of millions during the Iraq/Iran war). If that is still too difficult, why not begin with Iran where the Shiite version reigns supreme and other interpretations/religions are not well tolerated. Maybe bringing back the Pahlavhi dynasty could do the trick but unfortunately the Shah wasn’t into democracy in a big way.

    Maybe the advocates of the single state solution are being disingenuous with all the noble sentiments. The single state as described would mean there would be one fewer Jewish states in the world. I guess there must be plenty of them to spare. To be consistent the proponents should look wider in the Middle –East as there seems to be no shortage of Islamic theocratic states to apply the same treatment to. The secular democratization practice sessions that I suggested for some Islamic states (and for fairness maybe the Vatican) could be used to partially correct the imbalance.

    In comparison to the patently inane secular democratic one state solution, the pursuit of a two state solution, even though being frustratingly as far away as ever, is the only sensible and realistic option (but alas provides far less opportunity for humour).