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.

Who knew I was a nihilist leftist who loathes Western civilisation?

So I wrote an article for the ABC last week on the murder of Osama Bin Laden. I asked questions about his death, the significance of his assassination, the role of Al-Qaeda in making the US an insanely paranoid security state post 9/11 and the terror leader’s relevance (or otherwise) during the Arab Spring.

But the cultural police are out in force. Rupert Murdoch’s duly appointed “leftists” won’t have a bar of questioning “war on terror” doctrine. Not allowed, you see. May cause anti-Semitism. Or love of Iran. Or something.

Here’s the almost incomprehensibly embarrassing Nick Dyrenfurth in today’s Australian (and yes, the man has form demanding obedience to a Zionist agenda with no questions. He’s an intellectual, you understand):

No self-respecting social democrat mourned his death. And yet, had one’s daily reading habits been confined to sections of so-called “progressive” opinion, bin Laden’s death was a matter of profound regret. The extra-judicial killing was a denial of due process, celebrity lawyer Geoffrey Robertson protested, oblivious to the impossibility of capturing or trying bin Laden. “[It’s] hard to celebrate one more corpse,” opined Jeff Sparrow, a devotee of the violent Bolshevik thug, Leon Trotsky, on ABC’s The Drum. Not to be outdone, Crikey’s Hunter S Thompson-wannabe, Guy Rundle, downplayed bin Laden’s crimes claiming that: “Morally speaking, 9/11 was no worse than a B-52 run over Vietnam.”

You don’t have to believe that American engagement in Indochina during the 1960s and 70s was foolhardy or that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was likewise ill-judged, as the present writer does, to find Rundle’s commentary nonsensical. Then again this is a man who has penned such thoughtful treatises as “Zionists and Nazis Connected. Discuss.”

Perhaps the most disturbing local contribution came from another Drum regular, anti-Israel activist Antony Loewenstein, who announced that “the West has much to learn”. Bin Laden’s “[terrorist] tactics were abhorrent and failed to attract huge numbers of followers” Loewenstein surmised, nonetheless the West’s subjugation of Muslims meant that the “arguments for his organisation’s force have only strengthened since 9/11”.

In other words, Osama was a nasty piece of work but fighting the good fight against imperialist crusaders. (Never mind that the majority of al-Qa’ida’s victims have been Muslim.) Loewenstein concluded by offering a paean of praise: “Bin Laden died a man who profoundly changed the landscape of the world.”

Well, yes, he certainly changed Lower Manhattan’s landscape.

If any further evidence were required to show that a segment of the 21st century Western Left has completely lost the plot and plumbed the deepest, darkest depths of moral nihilism and cultural relativism, the contributions of these so-called “progressive” thinkers is conclusive proof.

Today, however, noisy elements on the far Left – think Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and our local scribblers – seem to believe that Western-style democracy is in fact the real enemy.

With monotonous regularity they excuse bin Laden and his fellow Jihadis’ death-cult or rationalise Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s vile anti-Semitism, instead preferring to blame the US and Israel for all the woes of the world, including partial responsibility for the September 11 atrocities.

It is high time these values-free misfits received a new appellation.

Practically speaking, they oppose mainstream Left thinking on virtually every subject. Amazingly they can see no tangible difference between a theocracy and a democracy nor denounce Islamic fundamentalism in unequivocal terms. To my mind, they should be known for what they are: nihilists.

So let them rail against liberal democracy and chant: “We are all Hezbollah” from the rooftops but do not besmirch the good name of others by deeming themselves Left. No, let them stand with like-minded nihilists, Jew-haters and other enemies of social democracy, including a recently deceased jihadist unlikely to be enjoying a judenrein paradise of virgins. On behalf of the sane Left, good riddance to the lot of them.

I have been duly chastised and will no longer ask any questions about anything.

8 comments ↪
  • Glen

    "We believe in nothing Lebowski …. NOTHING"

  • efj

    A masterpiece of hysteria.
    Exhibit A for what zionism does to the brain.
    Love the bit about 'liberal democracy'. Writing by numbers.

  • Since I read your original article and can see little connection between it and what was written by Nick Dyrenfurth, I can only say that this form of slanging-off relies heavily on derogatory labeling, often wide of the mark and a stream of smug narcissistic vitriol. Is this guy on work experience at The Australian chip-wrap, or is he in charge? I hope he is helping to bring down the tone of the paper to the point that no one reads it.

    Who could possibly make sense of, "Today, however, noisy elements on the far Left – think Noam Chomsky, John Pilger and our local scribblers – seem to believe that Western-style democracy is in fact the real enemy." How does he determine what far left even means? Antony, I am sure you will just go on writing good sense regardless of the noisy kindergarten.

  • efj

    Noam Chomsky as 'noisy element on the far left', 'railing against liberal democracy'?
    Presumably this is the same noisy Noam Chomsky who published (with equally disgusted ex business academic Edward Herman) in 1980 the two volume The Political Economy of Human Rights, highlighting a certain dissonance between so-called liberal democracies and commitment to human rights.
    Here's some lines from the Introduction to Chomsky's 1967 collection American Power and the New Mandarins:
    "Three times in a generation American technology has laid waste a helpless Asian country [Japan, Korea, Vietnam]. … What have we done?
    There are, at last, some signs of awakening to the horrifying reality. Resistance to American violence and to the militarization of our own society has become, if not a significant force, at least a detectable one. There is hope that the struggle against racism and exploitation at home can be linked with the struggle to remove the heavy Yankee boot from the necks of oppressed people throughout the world." TBC

  • efj

    Chomsky Part II.
    That was the Cold War. Then came the War on Terror, fueled by the new need to defend Israeli interests to the last drop of American blood and fiscal resources. The next excerpt from American Power and the New Mandarins, 1967, is prescient.
    "There is a growing realization that it is an illusion to believe that all will be well if only today's liberal hero can be placed in the White House, and a growing awareness that isolated, competing individuals can rarely confront repressive institutions alone. At best, a few may be tolerated as intellectual gadflies. The mass, even under formal democracy, will accept 'the values that have been inculcated, often accidentally and often deliberately by vested interests,' values that have the status of 'unconsciously acquired habits rather than choices' [C. Wright Mills]. And so on.
    Welcome to 21st Century America.
    Has ND read the people he slags off against?

  • Kevin Herbert

    Writing by numbers is right.

    I kept re-reading it thinking that I'd I'd missed key links in the facts. But no, poor old Dyenfurth's writing style kept disappearing up his back passage….a lightweight rant if ever I read one.

    It's getting to the stage that to appear on the opinion pages of The Oz works against your journalistic reputation.

    Similar modus operandi to the Christain Zionist Bren Carlil who writes far right Zionist dross for one of the eminently forgetable, irrelevant groups of ageing "Israel at all costs" Jewish groups.

  • weaver

    It's the usual bait and switch.

    We decry imperialism; they claim we haite "Western democracy".

    We believe in moral principles that we won't discard out of simpleminded tribal loyalty: they call us "nihilists".

    We attack situational ethics; they call us "cultural relativists".

    Actually that last one's not so strange. To be morally consistent is to be a "cultural relativist" by definition. Only those who seek to define the morality of acts solely by the "culture" that commits them can avoid "cultural relativism" and proudly claim that one culture is morally superior to another even regardless of what people from that culture actually do.

  • lancethruster

    Your attempts to make sense out of that twaddle brought a smile to my face.