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 mainstream politician (“left-winger”) shows yet more love for Zionism

What an undignified state of affairs.

Here’s Anthony Albanese, Australia’s federal minister for transport and infrastructure and the federal member for Sydney’s Grayndler, writing in today’s Australian about the supposed problems with the Sydney Marrickville council backing BDS.

The piece is filled with mistakes, untruths and glaring omissions, such as:

– Albanese is married to NSW MP Carmel Tebbutt, who just happens to be running against Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne in the upcoming election.

– The Greens are resurgent in inner Sydney, nearly unseating Albanese at the last federal election. His supposed care for Israel and Palestine would be far more credible if he actually spoke out sometimes (ever!) about human rights abuses in Palestine, instead of simply following the blindly Zionist ALP line.

– Albanese clearly doesn’t really understand BDS. It’s not about hating Israelis or Jews or anything like that. It’s about taking an important stand against colonisation when the Western powers, including Australia, remain silent over Zionist occupation.

– He mentions Leonard Cohen being boycotted in Australia when in fact Cohen is Canadian, not Israeli. This would not happen. Who is Albanese getting his information from, the Israeli Foreign Ministry?

– There are no complaints about boycotts against Burma (because that’s a generally accepted ‘bad’ regime) but Israel is a good, little democracy and those poor oppressed Jews need our support.

I could go on but here’s the piece. Yet more evidence of the moral decline (and utter lack of transparency) amongst the Labor Party:

As part of Leonard Cohen’s successful world comeback tour in 2009 he included a concert at Ramat Gan stadium near Tel Aviv in his itinerary.

For that he was condemned by some activists for promoting a cultural exchange in Israel. Never mind the fact that proceeds from this concert were directed to the Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace. Groups which directly benefited included the Parents Circle, made up of both Palestinian and Israeli parents who have lost children in the Middle East conflict with the aim of promoting peace and reconciliation. Cohen described the concert as “representing a triumph over the inclination of the heart to despair, revenge and hatred”.

The decision of the Greens Party-controlled Marrickville Council to “boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, academic, government or cultural exchanges”, is unfortunate and misguided at best.

The council goes even further and suggests that any organisation or company with links to Israel should be boycotted also. It is not clear how much of ratepayer funds will be expended on this research.

It is doubtful how fair dinkum the Greens Party councillors are, given that the resolution carried a month ago included a third point, that they would write to local parliamentary representatives “seeking their support at the state and federal level” and Greens mayor Fiona Byrne has not actually sent the correspondence.

It’s not as if there are no policy challenges or local issues facing the mayor of Marrickville. The council is in the process of laying off staff, the mayor votes to close down Marrickville West Public School’s childcare centre which provides vital support to disadvantaged families and the Greens have opposed a series of modest affordable housing proposals.

This ill thought-out attempt to challenge the state of Israel through a single local council in the inner west of Sydney is clumsy and counterproductive. I believe that engagement between peoples promotes understanding and tolerance and is worthwhile whether it be between national leaders or student exchanges.

As a strong advocate of justice for Palestinians I, along with Joe Hockey, established the parliamentary Friends of Palestine group and was its founding secretary. Any lasting resolution to the Middle East conflict cannot be at the expense of either Palestinians or Israelis. Surely contact and engagement between Palestinians and Israelis is a precondition for a peaceful settlement.

If simplistic slogans were enough to resolve this issue it would have become a historical footnote of the last century.

5 comments ↪
  • Marilyn

    They are still captive of the notion that Israel was founded on diplomacy instead of brutal expulsion and murder by zionist terrorism groups.

  • ej

    And what a long way down for AA.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    I truly believe that once the blind financing of Aussie political parties is outlawed, the disproportiatate influence of local Zionists over both major political parties will be greatly reduced.

    It will need the Greens to see it thru.

    Albanese & Tebbut……yesterday's polly's.

    Finkelstrein N notes the total control of Australian political parties' Middle East policy by the local Zionist push.

    I'm currently organising a boyvcott of the Lowy Institute on the ground that you can't provide the fiance for an open discussion think tank on the one o

    hand, while tacitly supporting the intellectually & morally corrupty Israeli political system.

  • sophie

    At last count 11 major Australian Unions were also supporting the BDS. Why aren't Albo and Tebbutt attacking them as well?

  • John Richardson

    going bye bye …..

    This week, Anthony Albanese, the federal Labor member for Grayndler & husband of the state Labor member for Marrickville, Carmel Tebbutt, took a shot at Marrickville Council over its resolution last month to support a global boycott of things Israeli, in response to the Zionist government’s ongoing crimes against the people of Palestine.

    Now most people know that the Mayor of Marrickville Council is Greens member, Fiona Byrne, who will, coincidentally, come head-to-head with Carmel Tebbutt in the March state election.

    So, Anthony’s shot at Marrickville Council was no doubt conceived as a clever way to discredit Fiona & give wife Carmel a much needed boost, whilst disrupting the growing BDS campaign, which threatens to strand Labor on the wrong side of public opinion; perched even further out on a right wing limb with a bunch of Zionist crazies, whose loyalty to Israel is first & last, regardless of the consequences for Australia.

    Unfortunately for Anthony, in launching his clever sledge against Fiona & Marrickville Council, he chose to belittle the BDS by claiming that no-one had written to him about it.

    Whilst it would be easy to turn Anthony’s attempted barb back against him by shining a light on his sense of his own self-importance or perhaps by suggesting that no-one could think of a single reason why they might bother to write to him, this would be way too easy & besides, it would deny Anthony, Carmel & a good many others a real opportunity to understand just how decrepit & irrelevant Labor has become in the minds of the Australian lectorate.

    What Anthony doesn’t understand is that no-one actually wants to write to him; they can see no point. Labor is so out-of-touch with Australians on so many levels & across so many issues, that the electorate is now convinced that it stands for nothing & doesn’t care less.

    Anthony, along with the majority of members of both the state & federal parliamentary party, just doesn’t get it.

    There are a thousand examples that highlight the public’s disillusionment with Labour but I think that Shaun Carney of the Age summed it up very well when he <a title="http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/labor-crisis-of-faith-20101231-19byt.html&quot; href="http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/labor-crisis-of-faith-20101231-19byt.html&quot; rel="nofollow">wrote:

    “Heaven knows the Labor Party needs that hope, because it is in a dreadful condition. Federally and in every state and territory it has either lost or is losing the critical mass of support that would allow it to hold government in its own right. Only one word can sufficiently describe the condition of the ALP across the country at the end of 2010: disillusioned.

    At the federal election, the party did not just fail to win a majority of lower house seats, it lost its sense of forward momentum. For any political party to experience success, it must be propelled by a sense of conviction on the part of its traditional supporters. Labor does not have that.

    The ALP is going through nothing less than a crisis of faith and purpose. The November Victorian election demonstrated its predicament. Labor secured a measly 36.2 per cent of the primary vote compared with the Coalition's 44.7 per cent. Ultimately, the Coalition, led by Ted Baillieu, just got over the line in terms of seats won, with 45 in the lower house to Labor's 43.

    But the parliamentary result flattered Labor, partly because of the Liberal Party's strategic choices. The Liberals' decision to preference Labor ahead of the Greens meant the ALP held on to Melbourne, Brunswick and Richmond. If the Liberals had recommended to its voters in those seats that they preference the Greens, as they did at the previous state election and the federal poll in August, Labor would have lost those seats.

    The federal election produced a less exaggerated version of the same result. Labor's primary vote was 38 per cent, the Coalition's 43.5 per cent. Preferences from Greens voters added almost 9 per cent to Labor's two-party preferred total but it still left Gillard four seats short of a majority.

    The dreadful truth about Labor in 2010 is that there are simply not enough voters who feel attached to the ALP's mission. Just think about how few readers' letters ever appear in the newspapers, and the paucity of voices on talkback radio, defending Labor. A partial explanation for this is that Labor's membership numbers are pathetically low and those who do join the party are often treated like rubbish by the organisation. The ALP no longer has sufficient foot-soldiers to advance its cause in the community; this will come under serious consideration by the review team.

    To get an idea of how much Labor's natural vote has fallen, go back to the landslide defeats it suffered in the 1970s. In 1975, it took 42.8 per cent of the primaries and 39.6 per cent in 1977. Even when it was on its uppers in the wake of the failures of the Whitlam era, its bedrock support was considerably higher than it is now.”

    So much for the what, but what of the why?

    Well, it’s simple Anthony & you don’t need a focus group to grasp it.

    The Labor Party no longer stands for anything Anthony. It no longer stands or acts on principle. It has no conscience. Its decisions are mechanical & contrived & even the local dullard understands that they are designed to appease. It is riven with hypocrisy & self interest. It no longer seeks to differentiate itself from the born to rule class on the opposite side: it is far too busy trying to impersonate them. It is incapable of formulating a vision for our country because it has become so small-minded.

    Labor is lost & there is no-one within the Party who can help them find themselves. Worse still, for Labor & the Australian people, no-one seems to care any more.

    So Anthony, that’s why no-one has written to you & that’s why I think Marrickville Council’s decision to support the BDS is fantastic – at least they stood up Anthony: sadly, Labor has forgotten how to & in doing so has betrayed its roots & the Australian people.

    Bye bye Anthony.