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.

Palestinians heard backing BDS in Marrickville

With all the talk about Marrickville council embracing BDS in Sydney, Palestinian voices have been largely absent. Like in so many debates about the Middle East in the West, all we hear are Zionists and Zionists.

Well, let’s change that right now.

Here’s Australians for Palestine public advocate Samah Sabawi and the group’s founder Sonja Karkar (wonderful photo courtesy of them):

It appears that once again the pro-Israel apologists have decided to single Israel out by making boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel a leading issue for the Marrickville electorate in the lead-up to the NSW state elections. Not surprisingly, the Palestinians are rendered invisible again as right-wing groups, politicians, the pro-Israel lobby and the Murdoch Press attack the Marrickville Council for their resolution to support BDS. That Palestinians living under Israel’s 43-year-old occupation are being ethnically cleansed on a daily basis from their land, their neighbourhoods and farms seems to be of no concern to our Liberal and Labor candidates who are vying for seats likely to favour the Greens.

There would be no BDS campaign if Israel was not denying the Palestinians their basic human rights: the right of return, the right to citizenship, the right to equality, the right to self determination, the right to live free from occupation, the right to education, the right to freedom of movement, the right to security, the right to fair trials, and much else besides.

The call for BDS was initiated in 2005 by Palestinian Civil Society as a form of non-violent resistance that is rooted in international law and the universal declarations of human rights.  It aims to empower individuals to take action to end the conflict. Since 2005, BDS has had a steady rise in popularity amongst Palestinian and Jewish peace groups only to accelerate in 2009 when Israel attacked the Gaza Strip. The deliberate sidelining of the Goldstone report in the UN after the evident savagery of the assault, galvanized organizations and individuals around the world to join the BDS campaign and call for an end to Israel’s criminal impunity and disregard for international law.

In the run up to the NSW elections, none of the politicians gave a thought to Israel’s new round of attacks on Gaza.  Nor did the media, despite Israel’s opposition leader Tzipi Livni calling for another “Operation Cast Lead” with the same chilling indifference she showed when she defended the earlier offensive as “necessary”.

Instead, a smear campaign was waged against the increasingly popular Greens for their principled support of BDS, a call coming now from numerous mainstream organisations around the world, including a good number of unions here in Australia.  Besmirching the good character of Greens’ candidates like Marrrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne, who is standing for the seat of Marrickville, as well as distributing false and sensationalist propaganda for political advantage, ought to sound warning bells for the local electorates and Australians generally.

If Ms Byrne is indeed an “extremist” then she is in illustrious company.   Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela, as well as former US President Jimmy Carter, were also labelled “extremists” by blind supporters of Israel, for daring to criticize Israel’s systematic discrimination and violations of International Humanitarian Law.

Nevertheless, as Israel expands its Jewish-only colonies, pushes its indigenous Palestinian population behind razor wires and tall cement walls, and strips them of any shred of freedom or dignity, our politicians continue to reward Israel.  A resolution moved by Liberal Senator Fifield condemning Marrickville’s decision to implement a boycott was just passed in the Federal Senate.  The Greens were the only ones who opposed it.

The resolution acknowledges the friendship between Australia and Israel and this is no surprise at all since successive governments here in recent times have bent over backwards to embrace Israel.

Notwithstanding our politicians’ blind support, Australia’s relations with Israel have caused many Australians to question what business we could possibly have with a state that is entrenching its occupation of another people.   There is a growing recognition amongst Australians that Israel simply does not live up to its tired and discredited mantra of “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

The idea that Israel is a democracy like Australia is simply not valid.  You cannot deny the rights of half of the people living under your control and still be called a democracy.  As if that is not enough, Israel has now made it illegal to hold events or ceremonies commemorating Israel’s Independence Day as a day of catastrophe or “Nakba” for the Palestinians dispossessed of their homes and land in 1948.  And the Israeli Knesset has just passed a segregation bill, which prohibits Palestinian Israelis from living in Jewish localities built on land confiscated from them.

In light of such blatant discrimination, the call for BDS is neither extreme nor unrealistic.  More and more people around the world see it as a morally sound strategy for holding Israel to account. If anything, the spectacle of fear-mongering and name calling in Marrickville has shown how incapable some politicians are of having a rational conversation on Israel/Palestine, despite its importance to world peace and security.

Samah Sabawi is a Palestinian-Australian writer, playwright, producer, political analyst, commentator and public speaker on human rights and is the Public Advocate of the Australian advocacy group Australians for Palestine.

Sonja Karkar is the founder of Women for Palestine and the editor of the Australians for Palestine news website.  Her articles have been published in Australian and overseas publications.

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