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.

ALP fails so media goes to the ALP for thoughts?

Sometimes the Australian media is so clueless as to make me wonder why they even bother.

The NSW Labor Party was devastated in last Saturday’s election. So who does the mainstream media turn to for thoughts? The Labor Party.

New Matilda published my investigation yesterday on the Greens. It’s received a huge response, with many people pleased somebody had revealed the levels of hatred directed at the party, Zionist lobby bullying and so-called progressive Jews and others remaining silent in the face of these actions. People won’t forget.

Here’s a small part from my article that didn’t make the final version:

The days since the New South Wales election have seen a litany of commentators, journalists and politicians pontificating on the reasons behind the Labor Party defeat, Liberal Party landslide and Greens difficulty in winning lower house seats.

Many in the mainstream media have called upon tired ALP figures to critique the failings of their own party. Unsurprisingly, the results have been mixed. It’s as if editors only want to hear the words of people who created the mess; their disastrous rule seemingly warranting reverential treatment.

Former NSW Labor cabinet minister Frank Sartor barely took any responsibility for the public’s displeasure with his party on ABC TV’s Lateline. The 16 minute interview largely ignored policy and focused almost solely on internal Labor troubles. No questions were asked why both major sides of politics are struggling to attract new members. It was little different when Leigh Sales spoke to Federal front-bencher Mark Arbib on ABC TV’s 7.30. Likewise with former Prime Minister Paul Keating with Sales again.

Labor’s right-wing factional head Eddie Obeid wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald that factions weren’t to blame for the ALP’s disastrous showing on the weekend, a view contradicted by years of factional brawling.

But this was insider media only allowing insiders to comment and create the post-election narrative.

  • ej

    Nobody has mentioned the elephants in the room – Labor's kowtowing to the developer lobby (Bangaroo slips in with Sartor as if it's unique rather than thebig tip of the iceberg) and to the mining lobby.

    I've made several comments to articles and letters in the Oz to this effect and, strangely, they have not been published.

    Is this reality of power a sensitive subject to the media?

    So the issue is, will O'Farrell et al be any different?

  • Larry Stillman

    Can you clarify what you mean by 'so-called progressive Jews'?

  • Marrickville local

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    I live in Marrickville, I support BDS and I voted for Carmel Tebbut.

    Was BDS the reason Fiona Byrne (and Jamie Parker) lost?

    I believe it was a factor but, on its own, not the decisive factor. I think part of Lee Rhiannon's argument (as quoted in Anthony's article) is spot on. If the Greens were going to introduce such a controversial policy, they really needed to prepare the ground and prepare themselves to deal with the inevitable shitstorm.

    Oh, and let's not forget the people of Marrickville. For many locals, the BDS announcement must have seemed like a decision from outer space. No consultation, no education campaign, no community debate. So much for local democracy Greens-style.

    The complete inability of the Greens to handle and sell the issue reinforces the party's great weakness – a lack of experience, depth and professionalism.

    Nowhere is this more evident than in the substandard quality of so many Greens candidates. One amusing example is the Member for Fremantle who got lucky with chair-sniffing Liberal Troy Buswell. There are many others.

    In the case of Fiona Byrne, by all accounts a very likeable person, she was exposed during the campaign as simply not being up to the job.

    The initial surge of negative publicity around the BDS hurt the Greens, undoubtedly. But it was the later, self-inflicted, wounds that killed Fiona Byrne and the Greens in Marrickville.

    Fiona lied. Repeatedly. And when caught out, the Greens' response was woeful, reminiscent of an adolescent caught pants down. These lies cost votes, as they should.

    While voters have long held jaded perceptions of the honesty of the major parties, some dared to believe the Greens were different, or at least more honest. Byrne's fibs eroded trust among these potential Greens voters.

    And while the BDS decision was essentially symbolic, Fiona's declared willingness to embrace a boycott of Chinese goods and services was truly frightening for many locals. Our mayor was ready to boycott China, she said publicly, if anyone from the local Tibetan community would just ask her to do so.

    As it turned out, no local Tibetan is as silly as the Mayor of Marrickville. But the episode destroyed any efforts by Greens campaigners to win votes among the local Chinese community.

    The issue of a possible Chinese boycott, and the Greens' inept response to this second round of negative publicity, established beyond all doubt for many voters that Fiona Byrne and the Greens were not a serious option. The party was favoured to win the seat, making any vote for them not a protest vote, but a vote with real consequences.

    The third round of negative publicity was, of course, the repeated

    dissembling about Byrne's previous statements on BDS and her commitments to

    the BDS campaign in the future. The issue moved beyond BDS itself to

    the character and competence of the candidate favoured to won the seat

    of Marrickville.

    These failings also raise questions about the competence of more

    senior Greens leaders, including Lee Rhiannon. If the party is serious

    about BDS, why was Fiona Byrne allowed to be the public face on this

    difficult issue? The Marrickville Mayor freely admits that she knows

    little about foreign policy and is unsure even whether she supports a

    two-state solution or some other outcome.

    Were the Greens just misunderstood victims of vested interests in the

    media and other powerful institutions, as suggested by Lee Rhiannon in

    Anthony's article?

    Again this is part of the story, but only part. Marginal seat

    campaigns are invariably hard fought. Some Greens policies do threaten

    vested interests. And sections of the media are all too ready to paint

    the Greens as mad, bad and dangerous to know.

    But when a candidate favoured to become the first Green elected to

    the NSW lower house is also the first mayor to introduce a BDS, that

    is news. When that candidate indicates an easy willingness to boycott

    China, that is news again. And when she is caught out repeatedly

    evading the truth, that is definitely news.

    No party suffered more from adverse media coverage in this election

    than the ALP. Yet Carmel Tebbutt continued to be a good local member

    in a bad government. She gave the media no avenue to pursue negative

    stories about her.

    Looking at Balmain, the Greens' achilles heel was once again, not the

    vested interests lined up against the party, but a candidate shadowed

    by questions about his previous business practices. Similar questions

    have been pursued about many candidates from many parties over the

    years, and rightly so.

    The Greens are not a protected species. If they want power they have

    to earn it under real scrutiny.

    Lastly, there is the question of preferences. Then Greens refusal to

    preference Labor, even where the ALP candidates were clearly

    progressive, was a real deal breaker for me and many others.

    This strategy was always going to deliver more Coalition members in

    seats where Labor would have won with Greens preferences. In the upper

    house the Greens may well deliver victory to Pauline Hanson, a danger

    that was well understood.

    It is disingenuous for David Shoebridge to blame the collapse of the

    Labor vote for the current possibility that Hanson will be elected

    to the upper house for eight years. The Labor vote was pretty much as

    expected. Shoebridge and the Greens refused repeated requests to

    preference Labor in the Legislative Council so that the election of

    Hanson or other extreme right wingers could be avoided or minimised.

    In Marrickville, Carmel Tebbutt preferenced Fiona Byrne but the Greens

    refused to preference Carmel Tebbut. As in Balmain, the Greens took

    the view that, if they could not win the seat for themselves, they had

    no problem seeing  a Liberal member win over a progressive ALP member.

    That says it all.