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.

The Greens, Palestine and defending BDS during NSW election

My following investigation for New Matilda appears today:

Did the Greens’ stance on Israel cost them lower house seats in the NSW election? Antony Loewenstein talks to key Greens about BDS and dirty politics

“I mean they just never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” That’s what NSW ALP campaign spokesperson Luke Foley had to say about the Greens’ performance to Mark Colvin on ABC Radio on Monday. This, after playing a key role in the biggest electoral defeat in Australian political history. With the credibility of the ALP at an all-time low, it’s hard to understand why Foley was called on to comment on the performance of another party. Given the extent of Labor’s drubbing, perhaps it’s not so hard to understand why tired ALP figures are so ready to point the finger at the Greens. But do their criticisms hold any weight?

The Greens were sitting on 44 per cent of the primary vote in Marrickville according to a Galaxy poll two weeks out from the election, but come polling day they ended up with just 35.1. One of the key issues in the Marrickville campaign was the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel supported by Greens candidate and mayor Fiona Byrne in Marrickville Council — and the ferocious response to it in the final weeks of the campaign.

New Matilda has spoken to key members of the NSW Greens to determine what went wrong and what went right — and to consider the real electoral effect of the NSW Greens embracing the BDS campaign.

First some buried facts: The NSW Greens increased their statewide vote on the 2007 election by 2 per cent. Byrne helped drive a 7 per cent swing against a popular sitting member, Labor’s Carmel Tebbutt. The Greens’ Balmain candidate Jamie Parker may yet unseat a former NSW Labor front-bencher.

NSW Senator-elect Lee Rhiannon acknowledged to New Matilda that the Greens could have explained BDS better both internally and externally:

“Months before the election we needed to explain why the Greens backed BDS and we needed to work closer with our allies on BDS; academics, the Arab community and social justice movements in Sydney and Melbourne. Collectively we didn’t do enough to amplify support for BDS and show that this is part of an international movement.”

Rhiannon argues that the largely decentralised nature of the Greens campaigns is both an advantage and disadvantage. “It sometimes allows us to win seats, but hard to get a united position on issues.” Too many Greens believed the pre-election hype that two lower house seats were in the bag, she said, pointing to the Galaxy-Daily Telegraph poll in mid-March that showed a massive win for Byrne in Marrickville.

“Too many Greens became over-optimistic”, Rhiannon told New Matilda. “[Liberal leader] Barry O’Farrell was always careful to say he wouldn’t win. Australians like the underdog and Greens didn’t say we were the underdog. It’s better if you’re realistic not idealistic as we know how dirty ALP fights in the end.”

Galaxy Polling head David Briggs told New Matilda that he stands by the accuracy of the poll that found 44 per cent primary vote going to Byrne. He thinks that the Greens failed to take the seat due to a combination of anti-Greens coverage in the media, an ALP and Liberal policy of “vilification” against Byrne and decline in backing for the Greens in the last days before the poll.

Tebbutt was able to portray herself almost as an independent, Briggs said, rather than as a key member of the Labor Party. He argues that it’s quite possible the disastrous poll for Labor in mid-March galvanised the ALP to direct a huge amount of resources to Marrickville to save the seat.

For Rhiannon, one of the saddest sights of the election was the ALP Left, “who call themselves the conscience of the party, driving this attack on the Greens over BDS. Anthony Albanese and Luke Foley ran a sophisticated campaign through the media to discredit the Greens. This is a party who has sometimes worked closely with the Palestinians — but in this case it was a bankrupt move for political reasons.”

Greens MLC David Shoebridge told New Matilda that he wouldn’t go into detail about the party’s campaign but questions why ALP figure Luke Foley is given credibility as a commentator on the Greens vote “when he has been the core spokesman for the ALP’s greatest political defeat in Australian history. Foley wants the post election narrative to be about the Greens performance instead of his own role in the ALP disaster.” (Foley refused to comment for this article, questioning my independence in an email exchange.)

“There are no institutional interests in wanting the Greens to succeed”, Shoebridge said. “Almost all institutional interests are challenged at either the state or federal level, such as the Catholic Church, mainstream media, private schools and the mining lobby. It’s no wonder that major media outlets are able to find people to push that critique. It’s in their interests to have the ALP to continue state dominance, despite all its grossly anti-democratic policies.”

The Greens faced the difficult task of struggling for traction in a state that was desperate to get rid of the Labor Party. “75 per cent of NSW people wanted to wake up on Sunday morning with a different government”, Shoebridge said. “It was anti-ALP, which meant the Liberals, which made it difficult to get people to vote Greens. What was seen as the best way for people to get rid of the ALP? Vote Liberal.”

The real effect of BDS on the Marrickville and Balmain campaigns is impossible to determine but just retired Greens MLC Ian Cohen told New Matilda that he thinks it was a major factor, a position he’s held, with various degrees of consistency, for some time. He’s opposed to BDS, believes it unfairly targets Israel and ignores other gross human rights abuses across the world:

“Many pro-Israel people worried about the lack of consistency and this included Greens members. Nothing was said about dictatorships in the Arab world from the Greens … I believe there is a huge scope for criticism of Israeli behaviour against the Palestinian people but BDS for the Greens was an old style, in the trenches method of pushing a campaign. It wasn’t properly assessed how it would affect the NSW election campaign. The Jewish community outrage had a significant impact on our candidates.”

The Greens are now examining possible legal action against writers who have potentially defamed members as anti-Semitic .(News Limited’s Andrew Bolt is one of the worst offenders.)

Jamie Parker revealed to New Matilda the extent of the hatred directed at him during the campaign due to the Greens BDS policy. He had countless letters sent to him calling him a Nazi and Jew hater. His car was vandalised and campaign signs spray-painted with swastikas. He received death threats and some abusers said they knew where he lived. “One letter said I wanted to turn Balmain power station into a gas chamber and the light rail would take people there”, Parker tells me. “Lefty Jews told me that you can’t be surprised if extreme people do extreme things but they wouldn’t come out in public and condemn it.” He was appalled.

When the Murdoch press editor David Penberthy wrote that, “[Fiona] Byrne’s been busy advocating a polite modern rendering of Kristallnacht in the Inner West”, Parker hoped progressive Jews he knew would condemn the offensive comparison. They did not. “These Jews provide cover for extreme actions if they occur. If there’s a sniff of you being critical of Israel, such Jews will attack you and cut you loose.” BDS simply made many Jewish people unreasonable and extremely upset, Jews told Parker.

Parker says that the reaction of the Zionist lobby and local Jewish community during the election has revealed that they are willing to allow smears and violent actions against the Greens. Parker, who has spent years working on collaborative projects between local Jews and Palestinians, is now fed up with what he sees as Jewish silence. Local Jewish leaders have contacted him since Saturday to try and repair the damage but they still refuse to apologise for aggressive Jewish behaviour.

This is reminiscent of a current trend seen in Europe, with the far-right and anti-immigration parties visiting Israel and praising her achievements at fighting the supposed Muslim hordes. The Zionist lobby and mainstream Jewish community remains largely silent because such hateful figures, traditionally from the anti-Semitic fringes, are embracing Israeli government policies.

“Greens have a lot to learn when our political opponents and the Murdoch press are working together to attack us”, says David Shoebridge. The Greens “should learn what it means to be playing for-keeps politics. We constructed a campaign on positive messages and positive vision … but in fact history says that negative campaigning will win in the last weeks of campaign. It’s hard for a positive campaign to respond to a gloves-off campaign but we need to learn that without compromising our principles.”

one comment ↪
  • Jeff

    Israel has ignored 94 un  resolutions it occuppies others  land commits alledged war crimes practices forms of Apartide, hello