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.

Marrickville madness over BDS but Palestine rights aren’t forgotten

I was present at last night’s Marrickville council meeting over BDS. It was a circus. Hundreds of people attended. Protesters, Zionists, students, unionists, Palestinians, Arabs, citizens. Countless numbers of people couldn’t fit into the council chambers (luckily I was inside for proceedings). In the end, the BDS didn’t succeed but in many ways this wasn’t the only issue at hand; raising the question of Palestine in a way that was being noticed locally and globally. There was passion in the room. Mayor Fiona Byrne kept her cool and has spent months bravely trying to defend BDS against a barrage of hate and lies from the Murdoch press.

Predictably, most of the anti-BDS speakers – there were around 17 speakers and the meeting lasted for over three hours – talked in motherhood statements. Peace. Harmony. Two equal sides (Israel and Palestine). Little about occupation.

At the last minute I was asked to speak. I focused on the realities in Palestine and Israel’s racial discrimination. This is something that impacts us all, the lack of dignity of the indigenous peoples of the land. One side is the occupier and the other is occupied. It’s not really all that complicated. This is what Zionism is.

I spent my allotted three minutes detailing how the West props up Israel and it is our responsibility to speak up for human rights. Jewish-only roads in the West Bank. The siege on Gaza and ever-increasing settlements in the West Bank. Nearly universal backing in the UN for Palestinian rights (except Nauru, Marshall Islands, Australia, Israel and the US). As BDS takes off in countless places, the arguments against it become even further removed from Palestine itself. If you can’t argue on the facts, change the subject. Talk about local politics, or “balance” or “peace”.

Last night BDS was defeated in Sydney but the message I’m hearing from countless activists is that this has galvanised people to step up the campaign for Palestinian rights. The politicians who last night didn’t vote on principle but for partisan, political reasons (also known as selling out) will not be so easily forgotten. Isn’t it about time the corporate press looked seriously into the role of the Zionist lobby in this country and how it influences public and political debate?

It’s just beginning.

Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald report:

Marrickville Council’s controversial push for a boycott of Israel was quashed at a tempestuous, crowded meeting last night.

Gallery members reported being spat on, accusations of cowardice were screamed at councillors and flags and banners were waved as police looked on.

Labor councillors and two Greens who had supported the initial push to support the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel, voted with two independent councillors against it.

The council’s support for the movement has drawn unprecedented ire, including from the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Kevin Rudd, and the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, and messages of support from figures such as John Pilger and Julian Burnside.

The Greens councillor Max Phillips denounced the attacks on the council but said: ”I do not believe there is sufficient understanding or support to justify council [supporting] a boycott of Israel … It must not be imposed.”

He was jeered with calls of ”there goes your preselection.” The Labor councillors Mary O’Sullivan and Sam Iskander spoke passionately about their trips to Bethlehem and their support for Palestinian human rights, but said ultimately they could not continue to support the boycott. Cr O’Sullivan moved the motion which brought the boycott down.

A separate motion by the mayor, Fiona Byrne, to retain in-principle support for the boycott was rejected. The only councillors who continued their support were the mayor, the independent Dimitrios Thanos and Greens pair Marika Kontellis and Cathy Peters.

Hundreds of people attended the passionate meeting, which was filled with shouting, flag waving and jeers. Many could not find a seat in the chamber and stood in corridors and on the street.

A Jewish blogger and pro-Palestinian rights activist, Antony Loewenstein, said he was spat on on his way in and called a pig. Proceedings were repeatedly interrupted. One woman called Arab councillors who did not support the boycott ”f—ing cowards”, first in Arabic, then in English, before storming out.

Cr Byrne said she shocked by the vitriol the issue had attracted. ”I personally don’t understand why we’ve had a sledgehammer used to crack the egg that is Marrickville Council on this issue,” she said.

Though the boycott was voted down, the council formally registered that it remained ”concerned about Palestinian human rights and calls on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian lands”.

Twelve councillors and 18 members of the public addressed the three-hour debate.

And here’s the Australian story (thank God the paper didn’t include any Arabs voices; they don’t want to pollute their pages):

A Greens-dominated Sydney council was last night forced to abandon its bid to implement a boycott of goods and services from Israel, after a fiery meeting that lasted more than three hours.

Two of the five Greens on Marrickville Council repeatedly split from their colleagues by refusing to back motions to water down the original proposal to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.

The council finally passed a motion that resolved not to pursue the BDS “in any form” with the support of the same Greens councillors, Peter Olive and Max Phillips, four Labor councillors and two independents.

A report by council staff that put the cost of the boycott to ratepayers at more than $3.7 million was repeatedly cited as a reason to dump the BDS campaign, passed by 10 votes to two last December. Last night, only four councillors – three Greens including mayor Fiona Byrne and an independent, Dimitrios Thanos – sought to maintain the boycott.

Labor councillor Mary O’Sullivan, who put forward the motion to dump the boycott, accepted a last-minute amendment by Greens councillor Peter Olive that stated the council remained concerned about Palestinian human rights and called on Israel to end the occupation of Arab lands.

The decision to dump the boycott followed three hours of robust debate during which 17 members of the public and all 12 councillors of the inner-western Sydney council exchanged views.

Several members of the public were ejected from the gallery; on more than one occasion tempers flared and it appeared fights might break out.

The Israel boycott has plagued Marrickville Council and the Greens since the campaign for last month’s NSW election. Ms Byrne, who supported the boycott, failed in a bid to snatch the state seat of Marrickville from former Labor deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt after it was revealed she had proposed to introduce a motion for a statewide boycott of Israel if she entered parliament.

Ms Byrne was greeted upon entrance to the council chambers last night by raucous boos and cheers from about 70 banner-wielding locals – a mixture of pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian supporters.

Resident Leslie Marsh began the meeting with an impassioned rejection of the global BDS campaign, pointing out it counted among its supporters Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “The division in this room is the perfect example of what the BDS does: it takes moderate people and moves them to extremes,” he said.

The boycott had become an umbrella for a “whole range of extreme viewpoints”.

Another local, a church minister who identified himself as Father Dave, spoke in support of the boycott, pointing out that the movement aimed to challenge the military occupation of Palestine by non-violent means.

He blamed “months of lies, threats and political intrigue” for the controversy.

Independent Morris Hanna, who has consistently opposed the boycott, said he felt “ashamed” to be a Marrickville councillor. He said numerous residents had approached him with their concerns since the boycott had drawn widespread scrutiny.

“I hope for the Palestinians and for the Israelis that they live in peace in the future without Marrickville Council trying to interfere,” he said.

Greens councillor Cathy Peters spoke most forcefully in support of the boycott, claiming the campaign against it had created an atmosphere of bullying and intimidation, and had threatened democracy.

Ms Byrne spoke briefly at the start of the meeting, to commend a watered-down version of the original motion that expressed support for the BDS movement in principal.

At the end of the debate she quipped: “We have certainly put the BDS on the national agenda, whatever that means”.

17 comments ↪
  • Mark Riboldi

    Lots of aspiring politicians at Marrickville Council tonight. The level of empty rhetoric from the backflippers was impressive.

  • Marilyn

    What a pack of racist, snivelling cowards/

  • Andrew Davies

    Was this recorded at all? would be good to hear your speech Antony.

     

    We all know what to expect from Israel's shameless apologists so their behaviour at this event should come as no surprise to any of us.

     

    BDS movement can only lose if the people stop trying. This is just the beginning. Don't give up!

     

    Antony is doing a fine job keeping us posted and representing the cause. Three cheers!

     

  • John Newton

    Not just the Murdoch press Antony, but Fairfax all lining up to put the boot in – with scant regard to the issues

  • Irene

    Antony, I was there last night. Live in Marrickville, not jewish/pro-israel occupation by any means.

    I've honestly always believed that you provide a reasoned alternative voice that we need. But last night you created a lot of unnecessary anger and led to people discounting the important things you had to say when, once you had the microphone, you pointed at a member of the public gallery and said 'You're Jewish, aren't you? I can just tell. I can see that you're Jewish.' or words along those lines.

    It was in the heat of the moment and you have every right to be angry, I just think it gave an unfortunate impression and there were a lot of 'he's crazy/racist' responses from the bipartisans in the room as a result. It just meant people who previously weren't prejudiced against you were unable to really listen to what you had to say.

  • Insider

    The Greens NSW now has grounds to sack Peter Olive and Max Phillips as councillors however it doesn't have precedent. I look forward to seeing what will happen and who will go.

    Watch this space…

  • ej

    There seems to be three current strategies by the zios and fellow travellers.

    (some of the previous strategies have disappeared for now – e,g. G-d gave it to us, the chosen people; we owned the place X millenia ago; etc.)

    1. obfuscation through vacuity – peace & harmony through dialogue, etc. etc. (As AL notes, the 'motherhood' stratagem). i.e. completely avoiding the facts on the ground

    2. outright lies – c/f Mendacious Mendes in today's On Line Opinion – the BDS crowd want to destroy Israel (true only if it means that the Israel rooted in ethnic cleansing has to go, so there might be something in this; is an alternative Israel conceivable?)

    3. the racist tack – Arabs are fundamentally uncivilised animals, and generically anti-Semitic (sic). i.e. the Pipes tack.

    None of the three carry any weight, so the words are in themselves substance-less.

    Thus those brave souls who feel that they have to highlight the lack of substance in these strategems are on a hiding to nothing from the beginning. The words aren't meant to have substance, and everybody knows it, save for the zio pathologues  (and in their hearts?).

    Thus has zionism trashed the language, on top of condoning the crimes committed by the rogue state.

    It's all about power and obeisance to power.

    Are you there Julia, Kevin, Anthony, Paul ……… ?

  • Excellent report-back / article.

    ej's comment is spot on, IMO

  • Hiram

    Anthony, I do love reading the people on your site, and that some times you even let a negative about you be read by others.

    You have no idea ho much you help make people dislike some Minority groups, the more you write the more you help, keep up the great work Anthony.

  • Andrew Davies

    Father Dave's speech. Worth watching

     

     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhMjEV_ZqWg

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    The Marrickviile BDS controversy has put the BDS & the apartheid Israel on the map in Oz as a social justice issue.

    I believe it will unify many Aussies to support the BDS.

    Nicely put ej…once again

  • Irene, Antony's comment about the women being Jewish was in response to her saying to him, as he walked up to speak, "I spit on you, you pig" – I think his pointing out her comment and remarking the obvious, that she was likely Jewish, was quite clearly not racist, or anything of the sort. He used her insult as an example of, in his words, "the level of vitriol" that has been witnessed in the campaign against Marrickville council's (previous) support of BDS. The audio of Antony's words, including those you took issue with, can be listened back here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h4wooDckq0

  • Andrew

    "I spit on you, you pig". Is this what it's really come down to? If the worse thing that Antony did was to point out that she was Jewish, then that is a pretty moderate reaction. Kudo to Ant for coping with such foul abuse.

  • What a vile result!!! The following is the letter I sent to all councillors. I am disgusted, disgusted to see Marrickville given the chance to lead a moral fight, caved in and showed they are just pathetic little bitches for the Zionist terrorists. They actually voted to support criminality. I do not consider any of them deserve to be treated as anything but criminal enablers.

     

    Dear sir or madam.

     

    My name is Steve Pallister and I was born in the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Marrickville in 1963. I have lived all over the world and today am settled in Perth Western Australia. I am writing to express my concern with a meeting which is to be held today regarding Marrickville council's decision to take a moral and legal stand and join the BDS movement against Israel whilst that state continues to defy all human rights laws and around one hundred UN resolutions in its ongoing campaign of genocide against the long suffering Palestinians.

     

    When Marrickville council took the stand originally, I was deeply moved, and never felt greater pride in the place of my birth. I have for years struggled to bring people's attention to the true situation in Palestine. Having become aware of the real facts on the ground, which are easy enough to find if you seek them outside the thoroughly controlled media messages we are daily bombarded with, I have become increasingly outspoken and angered by the seeming carte blanche the state of Israel is given, time after time to commit atrocities and enormous crimes with complete impunity. Time and time again Israel thumbs its nose at international law and every rule of human morality.

     

    For speaking out I have been subjected to a terrible campaign of hatred and intimidation myself. Like many other activists I face telephone threats, written threats and various attempts at blackmail and even my family, including children have been targeted in gross abuses of decency and privacy by apologists for Israel. We are aware that the Israel lobby is unmatched for organisation and sheer venom and energy. However as my constant activism in the community makes abundantly clear, VERY FEW Australians do support Israel, especially unconditionally which is the ONLY form of support they will accept anyway. This is why despite a horrific round of abuse from Israelis and their Zionist supporters elsewhere, it has not impacted negatively on my life, and I have been given a perfect vision of the sheer disgusting viciousness and almost demonic level of hatred and bile which is just under the surface of any Zionist. The racism and deceit, the hatred and abuse, the violence and the endless attempts to portray their victims as somehow the abusers has been a poisonous back drop to world politics now for decades. Yet people of all walks of life are no longer blinded by the incredible wall of lies and the majority of people the world over consider Israel to be the greatest threat to world peace, indeed to mankind's survival.

     

    If the monstrous Israeli project of land theft and genocide is allowed to continue, then you must be assured that the world is facing a historical war and have no doubt, WE WILL LOSE! I personally and many more like me could NEVER fight for our land or country if it remained subservient to Israel, instead we will become your enemy also. There comes a time when our government have abrogated their responsibility by casting the law to the wind. If you reverse the BDS decision then you will have given endorsement for illegal and immoral actions of a historic nature. We never seem to hear the end of the suffering of Jews in WWII, yet in reversing the moral decision to endorse a BDS action against Israel you will be participating in atrocities no less inhuman and as such you are equal with any Nazi sympathisers of their day. Do not be fooled by the master race assertion of Zionists, people other than Jews have a right to live in peace and freedom. If you support an illegal and immoral terrorist state, you will have made a mockery of the law, and I would suggest that the Law is the only thing which may one day stand between treasonous anti-human Australian lawgivers and the hangman's noose.

     

    Remember that Israel has been historically the original terrorist state, and the most regularly proven force behind acts of terror worldwide. Indeed we are forever being bombarded by accusations of Muslim terror, but when the proof has become known, the usual suspect has been Israel. They openly assassinate and commit acts of terror anyway and are as inclined to boast about this when not calling people like me liars for saying it. The Lavon Affair was no lie, the King David Hotel bombing was no lie and nor was the cowardly attack on the USS Liberty, which was just one more attempt to commit terror and blame their victims for it.

     

    From the bottom of my heart and the core of my soul, I beg you and all councillors to ignore the threats and intimidation which you possibly are also facing for standing up to the beast state, and make a stand for truth and humanity. Do not bow down before the most ugly cult of Zionism, please get on the right side of history and set an example. FAR more Australians will thank you for it, than those vocal and hysterical Zionists and anyway, they do not forgive ever.

     

    So even if you now get down on your knees and beg forgiveness of the demons, which a reversal will amount to, I promise you they will still target each of you and you will be disrespected by them all the same. Recently Judge Goldstone sold his credibility and soul by trying to renege on the UN investigation which he headed and attempted by all means to make friendly towards Israel. To anyone who knew the facts the Goldstone Report was a whitewash. Indeed it could not avoid the conclusion of Israeli terrorism, including killing babies at point blank range while in their mothers' arms. We who know Israel are not surprised by this. The list of brutal crimes ongoing by Israel is so shocking it cannot be believed by the average person who knows only what the mainly Zionist owned media tells them. Yet it is all proven, all endorsed in ignored UN resolutions and many more vetoed ones. All supported by Israeli peace groups also. There are many Israeli defence forces personnel who also admit to the crimes and who also support a BDS movement. It is obvious to some that if Israel does not soon make peace, then it will before long be facing destruction.

     

    You have the opportunity to be a leader in a moral cause now and if you do Marrickville stands to gain great prestige in time. If you fail us, then Marrickville will have been ill served by you and you should hang your heads in shame. I for one will be ashamed to admit I was born there, but I will be loud in my public condemnation of you as well.

     

    Yours Sincerely

     

    Steve Pallister

  • Jethro

    @Rabbit

    "Genocide" "Terrorist State" "Atrocities"

    This is precisely the sort of immoderate language that renders

    the BDS as a viewpoint held by political extremists. It does nothing for the 

    cause.  

  • Dorothy Naor

    Sounds much the same as at UC Berkeley last year.  We'd landed in SF at noonish, and  headed to Berkeley later to participate in the vote on bds.  We lost there, too, but the fact that the debate has gotten to Australia shows the power of the bds movement.  It will, in the end, be one great grass roots movement, and Israel will be forced to stop its occupation, forced not by means of arms but by non-violent protest and bds.

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