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.

Aussie mainstream media needs to understand that Israeli democracy is a contradiction

Following this week’s Marrickville BDS decision, today’s Sydney Morning Herald publishes an editorial that shows a profound ignorance of the conflict. The word “democracy” is thrown about so carelessly when describing Israel that many in the West continue living under the illusion that Israel proper gives full rights to its citizens. Arabs are profoundly discriminated against. Palestinians in the West Bank are treated like second-class citizens. A democracy doesn’t behave this way (and neither does Australia, by the way, offering many in Aboriginal Australia little more than a dusty town and terrible services).

BDS is vital because simply hoping and praying that Israel will give up its occupation has failed. 44 years of failure. Outside pressure is both necessary and moral:

The short-lived boycott of Israel by Marrickville Council has been an interesting study of how distant foreign policy issues can sometimes intersect with local politics. The council and its mayor, Fiona Byrne, would never have envisaged the attention they ended up getting from what they would have regarded as a worthy but probably futile gesture.

After all, many other councils – especially in the gentrified inner areas of Sydney and Melbourne – have similarly ”warned the Tsar” by adopting causes in conflict with Canberra’s official policy. They have flown the Tibetan or West Papuan flag, hosted East Timorese resistance leaders, damned the Burmese junta. Why not support Palestinians?

The difference is that Israel is a democracy, at least within its pre-1967 borders, and is open to argument; indeed in its domestic politics it’s riven by argument. By jailing a former president for rape and putting a recent prime minister on trial for corruption, it has shown a strong ethos of impartial justice. This suggests engagement, not boycotts, is the way to apply pressure about the continued occupation of the West Bank and control of access to Gaza, and the Jewish settlements. We have argued that Israel, propelled by a rightwards drift in its politics and the rise of ultra-orthodox religious groups, is making the goal of a two-state peace settlement ever more elusive. Formal exclusion could entrench this kind of thinking.

Given the interconnections of the global IT industry, it also emerged that a boycott of every commercial interest linked to Israel could be quite costly to the council budget. Councils have a right to pursue ethical purchasing; they should work out the potential costs first. But this was not just about Israelis and Palestinians. It was about clobbering the rising electoral power of the Greens on the head. Byrne came very close to unseating the former deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt, the most acceptable face of NSW Labor in what was previously an extremely safe Labor seat. The issue was a convenient one to portray the Greens as wacky zealots likely to steer Australia into causes that offend old friends and wider national interests.

Whatever the merits of this particular exercise, it is equally unrealistic to expect local governments to stick to garbage and potholes, as if this is all residents care about. If war is too important to be left to the generals, foreign policy involves more than foreign ministers and diplomats. If Marrickville wants to take a stand, it must be ready for the flak.

4 comments ↪
  • Rory

    There's also the problem that 2 of their 4 examples involve Indonesia, a place at least as democratic as Israel, and China is just as happy as Israel to put former officials on trial, however confected the charges might be.

    All this really says, then, is that for papers like the smh 'democracy' is a placeholder, not a political concept, after the fashion of the 'international community', and its use is essential imperial – 'democracy' is what we have and are, therefore, action against us is illegitimate unless authorised and thus contained by us.

  • David Macilwain

    I really have difficulty understanding how the author of this article can keep these incompatible ideas together in his mind, as the latter part of the editorial suggests some sort of acknowledgement that the Palestinians have a case to answer. The part about Israel's democracy just makes me cringe, supported as it is by stupid examples of democracy in action. Besides it is a pack of lies.

     — and well done for your efforts Anthony – I heard you say 'the occupied and the occupier are not equal' on the ABC – and that is the nub of it. As in Qassam rockets and guided missiles fired by drones are not equal.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    The biggest concern facing News Corp in the US & Oz, and Fairfax in Oz, is the thinly veiled informal threats by the thuggish Zionist frock floggers, assorted retailers & property developers et al, to collectively divert the next available advertising placements to other media.

    We're talking of tens of millions of dollars collectively in Oz, at a time when Fairfax & News Ltd's bottom lines are very vulnerable.

    Of course, there's nothing in writing & the threat is delivered in person without names being mentioned at a venue it would be very difficult to bug. A piece of paper with the thugs' total advertising spend for the year is pushed across the table…again without a word.

    The kicker is that the Fairfax advertising manager who is delivered the threat has no way of proving it…no paper trail. And of course once the threat is in, the only way to establish the prima facie evidence is to call the thugs' bluff. Getting a case for criminal conspiracy etc to court with a chance of success would cost upwards of $10 million to run, with probabaly a 40/60 chance of success. News Ltd don't need such threats in Oz…they've been delivered to News HO in New York many moons ago.

    Guess who's going to blink first.  

  • aventine

    The mainstream media: Campaigns of obfuscation. surprise, surprise. The ABC can be pretty bad on this issue as well.