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.

What a real political party does; enforce human rights norms in Palestine

Following the circus of Sydney’s Marrickville council and its (brief) embrace of Palestinian rights through BDS, major questions remain; what will it take for a major political party, such as the Greens, to place human rights at the centre of its being? What excuses will be made to avoid this? And what “red lines” will the Greens simply not cross? And why not?

Here’s a wonderful post by Tony Harris on the essential Left Flank blog:

Marrickville Council may have backed off supporting the Israel BDS campaign but by highlighting the plight of the Palestinians, the Council’s initiative in this area, and the pro-BDS stance of the NSW Greens, has ensured that this will only be the beginning of the debate, not least of all within the Greens themselves. The Australian Greens may pride themselves on confronting the “inconvenient truths” of climate change but when it comes to exposing the inconvenient truths of the plight of the Palestinian people (as the BDS campaign does), some in the party are ducking for cover.
Led by elements in the Victorian Greens and the national Greens leadership, the move is on to force NSW Greens to back away from its BDS policy. There are those who genuinely feel the BDS campaign is counterproductive, imperilling the achievement of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, those who are afraid the issue will divide the party, and at its most basic level, those who fear a loss of votes.  For many in the party, the BDS campaign is trouble, and that is enough. The Victorian Greens are trying to limit the debate to the question of process — the extent to which NSW is out of step with national policy and decisions. There is resistance to discussing the merit of the BDS issue itself.
But the Great Fear emerging among some in the Greens is wider than the BDS. It is the fear of the political cost involved in breaching the “separation wall” and entering the “no-go zone” established by the major political parties, the defence and foreign policy establishments, and elements in the mainstream media. That no-go zone is any attempt at realistic or insightful criticism, or analysis, of the Alliance between Australia and its best mate Uncle Sam, and as part of that deal, any principled criticism of the actions of Uncle Sam’s best mate, Israel.
The demonstration of this lies not just with the inner-party reaction to BDS but the Afghan War debate in parliament last year. That five Greens senators and one Greens MHR could get up in the parliament and not criticise the Australia-US alliance, the whole reason Australia is in Afghanistan, was somewhat bizarre.[i] Notwithstanding some good political points made in the speeches, this was akin to holding a debate about global warming and not mentioning carbon. The speeches in some respects were not at odds with continuing support for the US Alliance, with the Iraq and Afghan wars, like Vietnam before them, seen as “mistakes” imperilling the alliance’s effectiveness.
To understand what the Greens are up against, we need an appreciation of the entrenched nature of the Australia-US-Israel relationship, which has protected it from critical analysis in Australian politics and sections of the mainstream media. Historian Peter Edwards has pointed out that the Australia-US alliance  “has become a political institution in its own right comparable with a political party or the monarchy”[ii]. It has certainly become a part of Canberra’s constitutional landscape, with Australia’s military-intelligence complex clustering around the Australia-American memorial at Russell and holding down one of the points of the parliamentary triangle.
Following US policy in privileging Israel in its conflict with Palestinians is part of this architecture. This was demonstrated by the Australian government falling into line and helping the blocking in the UN of the Goldstone Report on the 2008-9 Israeli invasion of Gaza, an egregious act in no way justified by Goldstone’s recent reservations, repudiated by his report’s co-authors.[iii] And this stance was earlier demonstrated by Australia’s official response at the time of the Gaza assault, by then Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard, which singled out Hamas for criticism but made no comment on the disproportionate use of force by Israel.[iv] To Gillard and the Labor government, following the US on Gaza meant accepting Uncle Sam’s realpolitik, and underlying racial prejudice: a Palestinian life is not worth that of an Israeli. And of course not a peep out of the Australian government when the US recently used its veto to protect Israel from criticism in the UN Security Council over West Bank settlement expansion.
Support for both the US Alliance, and the US’s pro-Israel stance, is reinforced by Australian participation in the closed door, “Chatham House Rules”-based Australian-American Leadership Dialogue and Australia-Israel Leadership Forum.[v] Participation of politicians past and present in these secretive dialogues, aimed at providing discursive and cultural support for US foreign policy, and for Israel, is predictable. But it is shameful that Australian academics and journalists participate in contradiction with the ethics of transparency and open debate that are supposed to be at the core of their professions.
The McCarthyite campaign of ignorance and vilification directed at NSW Greens over the non-violent BDS campaign shows the fate that awaits those who seek to breach this “separation wall”, and for some in the Greens seeking to enter the no-go zone has too high a political cost. But there are those in the Greens, in NSW in particular, who are unlikely to back down, as demonstrated in Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne’s courageous, dignified and principled stance, along with two other Greens councillors, in resisting her council’s retraction of support for BDS.
The “blue” within the Greens is just beginning, but the Palestinians are unlikely to wait for the Australian Greens or anybody else to decide what’s good for them. The remarkable Arab Awakening is influencing the Palestinian territories, most recently in pushing Hamas and Fatah into some sort of agreement. It is unlikely to stop there, promising a new popular uprising against Israeli occupation and blockade. This may spread to the Palestinian population within Israel itself, and who knows, maybe also to those non-Arab Israelis who are resisting what Israeli academic, and BDS supporter, Neve Gordon has labelled the “proto-fascist mindset” of the Israeli government.[vi] Indeed it could even begin within Israel. If and when this uprising comes, it is likely to be a game-changer.
one comment ↪
  • Kevin C Herbert

    Very informative piece from Tony Harris