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.

Australian unions recognise the power and necessity of BDS

Now this is news, a growing realisation that the status-quo in Palestine is simply oppressing Palestinians. Civil society is rising:

Australian unions are signing up to an international campaign to boycott Israeli goods.

But a fight is brewing over a proposal for the Australian Council of Trade Unions to endorse the movement.

The broad-based divestment and boycott campaign is targeting companies that profit from the Israeli settlements.

The Electrical Trades Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, the Queensland branch of the Rail Tram and Bus Union and the Finance Sector Union have all passed a resolution supporting the international campaign of “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) against Israel.

Communications Electrical Plumbing Union national secretary Peter Tighe told The Australian the electrical branch of his union had adopted the resolution and he would now take it to the broader CEPU, then the ACTU.

“We had a 30 or 40 minute presentation from a delegate who had visited Palestine,” Mr Tighe said.

“The council decided we would support the BDS. We are not anti-Jewish; we just think the human misery over there is outrageous. We think the Israeli government is captive to some extreme views on the Right.

“We think it’s got to a stage where we are going to have to have bans across the board.

“Working people can’t sit on their hands forever.”

Mr Tighe, who sits on the ACTU executive, will take a resolution to the peak union body.

“We will use our influence within the ALP to push this position,” he said.

“Now you have a few unions with the same view and we can influence the political process more, we are not just one voice.”

Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes said he would fight any plan to see the ACTU endorse the sanctions.

“We don’t believe that it’s in the interests of Palestinian or Israeli workers to seek to divide them in the peace process,” Mr Howes said.

“Unions are free to do what they wish but certainly I think it’s a bit naive. Some unions are not fully aware of what they are signing on to.”

Of course, the Australian editorial opposes any kind of BDS, simply hoping and praying that someone, somewhere, will convince Israel to give up its occupation. Without pressure and pain, this will never happen:

If there is logic behind the international campaign to boycott Israel and the decision of some Australian trade unions to back it, we are struggling to see it.

Assuming sanctions work (and that is a big assumption), there are many regimes with a far greater claim to global opprobrium than that of Israel, a nation the Left once supported. The frustrating truth is that nothing has changed on the ground to justify the international Left’s perfidy. Everyone of goodwill agrees where this conflict will end, with two states separated by borders that approximate the 1967 boundaries and Jerusalem as a shared capital. So let’s make it happen.

The starting point must be talks without precondition. The Palestinians must dump their disingenuous tactic of linking construction of West Bank settlements with a return to the negotiating table. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, must use the advantages of incumbency to resist pressure from the Right and orthodox religious parties and pursue a path to peace that allows room for compromise. While political chaos would be in nobody’s interests — not that of the Israelis nor the Palestinians — Mr Netanyahu should not hoard a cent of his political capital in the pursuit of peace.

Settlements, however, are not the main issue. Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority leader, has negotiated with the Israelis in the past without demanding the sort of freeze on construction he now insists is a precondition to resuming talks. Any further delays would betray a basic lack of enthusiasm among Mr Abbas and his colleagues for negotiations and an attempt by them to drive a wedge between Israel and the Obama administration, which erred by allowing the settlements issue to assume the centrality that it has.

Mr Netanyahu, of course, has not helped by backing legislation in the Knesset that requires new non-Jewish citizens to take a loyalty oath to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The best hope is that this is part of a broader strategy aimed at shoring up essential political support that will assist him in eventually striking a peace deal. The presence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a state visit to south Beirut is a salutary reminder of just how urgent it is for both men to get to grips with reality.

4 comments ↪
  • Larry

    http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/accepting-adl
    Does this fit with Rupe's editorial today? Bruce Guthrie wasn't quick enough on the toadying front and got the boot. So he spilled the beans on what's expected from a loyal editor.

     

    Accepting ADL award, Murdoch decries 'ongoing war against Jews'

    Media magnate accuses Leftists of spurring anti-Semitism under the guise of legitimate criticism of Israel.

     

  • If sanctions don't work, why are they currently in place against Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, DRC and others, and why were sanctions (epecially sporting sanctions) credited as a large influence in freeing Nelson Mandela, and in South Africa subsequently holding democratic elections?

    Current Australian recognised UN Security Council sanctions regimes in place :http://www.dfat.gov.au/un/unsc_sanctions/unsc_sanctions_regimes.html

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    Finally, some real TU support to match the CFMEU's lonstanding support for the Palestinians.

    I wonder how Piggy Howes, News Ltd's latest far right bigot, will take to this development.

    Maybe he'll have a few union leaders assasinated…it's OK you know..Piggy told us it was OK for Israel to assasinate its enemies.

  • ej

    “We don’t believe that it’s in the interests of Palestinian or Israeli workers to seek to divide them in the peace process,” Mr Howes said.
    When were Palestinian and Israeli workers ever united? And what peace process?
    Howes is either extremely strategic or extremely stupid. Possible both, a familiar combination in Labor politics. The ABC Australian Story story on Howes omitted any reference to his pro-Israel fundamentalism.