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.

Why cultural boycott is legitimate weapon in face of repression

What weapons for an occupied people? A population facing repression? Cultural, academic and economic boycotts are important tools and must be utilised. I argued this in a recent essay in Overland in relation to Sri Lanka and Palestine.

This post on Mondoweiss shows that the debate is global and opponents of boycotts have fewer arguments by the day. In Sri Lanka, Tamils face a Colombo regime that discriminate based on ethnic background. In Israel, Palestinians are second class citizens simply because they’re not Jewish. BDS now:

On the eve of the passing of the anti-boycott bill in the Israeli Knesset today by a majority of 47 to 38, a debate on cultural boycott was held at the London Literature Festival in the Southbank Centre, initiated by Naomi Foyle of British Writers in Support of Palestine (BWISP). The debate motion was: “Where basic freedoms are denied and democratic remedies blocked off, cultural boycott by world civil society is a viable and effective political strategy; indeed a moral imperative.”

Supporting the motion, Omar Barghouti, founding member of PACBI, and Seni Seneviratne, British-Sri Lankan poet and performer; opposing, Jonathan Freedland, columnist for The Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle, and Carol Gould, expatriate American author, film maker, and ‘a vocal critic of what she sees as increasing anti-Americanism and antisemitism in Britain’.

Although the chair referred to the Palestinian call to boycott Israel as a ‘model boycott’, the debate was in theory not specific to I/P. Seneviratne, who is very knowledgeable about the South African experience, opened with a poem of Brecht’s, “When evil-doing comes like falling rain”, and addressed the history of cultural boycott, arguing that it is up to the oppressed people to decide what they can, and cannot, endure. She emphasised that the Israeli state strategy to co-opt culture showed it understood art was not beyond politics, the same way other countries have feared and murdered intellectuals and banned the work of cultural producers. Otherwise the debate was entirely focused on I/P.

As expected from those opposing the motion, there was much ‘whataboutery’: “look at Syria, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia”, as well as misrepresentation: “you will be shunning the dissenters, individual artists, writers, scholars”, and outright lies: “there was not a consensus in Palestinian society on BDS.” Perpetrating the myths of liberal Zionism was Freedland, who began smugly as the Voice of Cultural Sensitivity, Dialogue & Coexistence and ended up tetchy and defensive in the face of polite demands from the other side for moral consistency and the reminder that no state committing the crimes of Israel is “welcome in the Western club of democracies”.

Given that Freedland is still under the intentional illusion that this a conflict between two nations, rather than a case of settler colonialism, his empty rhetoric was not surprising. He might have wished for someone less morally compromising on his team, however. Carol Gould ‘judaized the debate’ as Barghouti put it, and to a repulsive degree. One particularly shocking statement of hers was that Israel’s industry ’emerged from the ashes of the Holocaust’. She concluded with an extraordinary defense of ‘dovish’ Israeli president Shimon Peres’s order to shell the UN compound in Qana, Lebanon in 1996, which resulted in the deaths of over 100 civilians.

Barghouti and Seneviratne made a strong team and while their approaches to the subject matter were different, the message was the same: ‘We will never convince the colonial masters to give up their privileges’, so boycott is a legitimate tactic.

Pro-boycotters were in the majority that night, and the motion passed easily.

one comment ↪
  • Mo .

    This point needs to be debated ? Why ?
    Something worthwhile came of it , though – "dovish Israel" – that's cute – that one is going to last .