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, BDS and Palestine in eyes of The Jerusalem Post

One week after Sydney’s Marrickville BDS vote, the issue continues to resonate globally. I was interviewed late last week by the pro-settler and conservative Jerusalem Post newspaper. The journalist was friendly enough but it was clear I speaking to a man who didn’t see the West Bank as occupied but merely Judea and Samaria (the biblical names for areas controlled by the Zionist state).

Here’s the story:

Australian Jewish leaders are confident that the Marrickville Council decision last week to repeal its ban of Israeli goods as well as cultural and academic ties has ended the boycott movement in their country at the governmental level.

“The backlash has been quite strong and unanimous from the wider populace and from the Australian federal government and the New South Wales government, so we find it hard to believe that other local councils will go for this,” said Yair Miller, president of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies.

He said the backlash came about because citizens and national leaders were angry that a local council had overstepped its bounds and become embroiled in an international dispute.

Uri Windt, a member of the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance, said of the possibility of more councils choosing to boycott Israel, “I don’t think people will be discussing it for a long time.”

The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is not as well-organized in Australia as in some countries.

“There’s no real official BDS movement here, but there are groups who advocate for BDS,” boycott supporter Anthony Loewenstein, a freelance journalist and co-founder of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, said.

Miller commented, “The BDS is fairly well-organized, but it’s very small and only [popular] in fringe radical groups, most of which are Palestinian solidarity groups.”

Nevertheless, Loewenstein said many councils were discussing ways to support BDS, though he declined to name them.

Though he was not happy with the outcome of Tuesday’s meeting, when the Marrickville Council voted to repeal its boycott, Loewenstein said the publicity generated by the council was important. “Like in other places where BDS has been put forward, it creates a bigger debate, which is what happened in Australia.” He attended the meeting.

Calls placed to the BDS office in Ramallah were not returned by press time.

Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne, a Greens member of the council who had supported the boycott, was unavailable to speak with The Jerusalem Post, but she said in a council press release that the findings of a staff report on the costs of implementing a boycott had influenced Tuesday’s vote.

“The report identifies some options – the cost of which would be impractical to the council and our local residents,” she said. “The plight of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories has been and remains a source of concern for Marrickville councilors.”

Severing ties with Israel would cost taxpayers an estimated $3.7 million to $4.3m., according to the report.

“We have created a little egg which is support for the plight of the Palestinian people, and a sledgehammer is being used to break that… Certainly we have put BDS on the national agenda, whatever that means,” Byrne said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Many in the media suggested the boycott issue caused Byrne to lose the election for Marrickville’s parliamentary seat in March. The Greens MP candidate for the neighboring district of Balmain, Jamie Parker, who does not support BDS, won.

“Aside from the far-left media, the coverage from mainstream media sources was overwhelmingly critical of Marrickville for getting involved,” Miller said. “The main criticism was that a local council was getting involved in foreign affairs, which is not in their mandate, and for getting in on one side of a very complex conflict.”

In a telephone survey of 500 Marrickville Council constituents, commissioned by the Inner West Jewish Community and Friends Peace Alliance and conducted between March 7 and 13, 48 percent of respondents said their local council should play no role in foreign affairs, though 43% said it should have a minor role. However, 76% expressed opposition to the council taking sides in foreign conflicts, and 51% of respondents were unaware of the council’s boycott motion. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed opposed the motion.

The alliance, which also began an online petition signed by 283 people (signatures of those with no connection to Marrickville were removed) was established by local Jews following the boycott resolution’s ratification. Eighty-five people came to its first meeting and formed its core support group, said Windt, who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

“BDS instantly injects a note of divisiveness and fictiousness, because it poses the issue that if you’re against BDS you’re against the Palestinians,” Windt said. “We made the point that we agree with the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and we agree with the two-state solution. It’s not about being anti-Palestinian, but if you want peace you have to create peace there and peace here.”

In an editorial published on Tuesday in the Sydney Morning Herald, alliance members Gael Kennedy and Janet Kossy urged the Marrickville Council to follow the government officials in a neighboring suburb, Leichhardt, where Parker is mayor, by bringing together members of Palestinian solidarity groups and Jewish communal organizations to focus on initiatives in the Middle East where Israelis and Palestinians work together.

On December 14, the Marrickville Council garnered headlines when it became the first such body to approve an Israeli boycott. On Tuesday, the 12-member council voted to rescind part of the resolution it passed in December that said the council would “boycott all goods made in Israel and any sporting, academic institutions, government or institutional cultural exchanges.”

Nevertheless, the council affirmed that it supported the global BDS campaign in principle. The council also condemned all violent acts, and voice support for the right of Israel and a Palestinian state to exist and for local peace initiatives and “the inherent human rights of all residents in the Middle East.”

Morris Hanna, an Independent member of the Marrickville Council and a former Marrickville mayor, voted against the boycott resolution in December and supported its repeal on Tuesday. “This is not a local issue – a local government worries about the environment, parks, kindergartens and cleaning the streets,” said Hanna, an Egyptian Coptic Christian.

Six council members – four from the Labor Party and two from the Greens Party – who voted for the boycott resolution in December withdrew their support for it last week.

Greens candidate posters in Marrickville and surrounding areas were defaced with swastikas before elections, and some council members reportedly received threats. Loewenstein felt this was the work of supporters of Israel, though Miller said that there was no proof that Jews or Israel advocates were guilty. “We took pains to emphasize that the [Jewish] community should act responsibly and with respect at all times,” Miller said.

5 comments ↪
  • The Greens MP candidate for the neighboring district of Balmain, Jamie Parker, who does not support BDS, won.

  • I posted the above comment before finishing it. My apologies. That was an  extract from the JP article, as record by Antony. Is it supposed to be factual?

  • silkworm

    If Jamie Parker did not support the BDS, why then did Israel supporters make death threats against him and paint swastikas on Green signs in Balmain?

  • Marilyn

    I wonder if someone should tell the dingbat settlers that Judah and Sumaria did exist – in Iraq – but Judea and Samaria in Palestine are figments of some fevered souls' imagination.

  • Kevin Charles Herber

    I've made the point before that if Fiona Byrne lost Marrickviile 'cos she supported the BDS, then it follows that Jamie Parker must have won the Blaman seat due to his support for the BDS.

    The Zionists are definitely on the back foor across Oz.