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.

Voices rising against Serco’s power

Very few journalists in the corporate press seem interested in the ever-expanding role of unaccountable Serco, the British multinational. Privatisation is accepted as gospel by both major sides of politics and the mainstream media.

To its credit, Green Left Weekly publishes today the following important part of the story:

British-based multinational corporation Serco Group is bidding for more contracts with Australian federal and state governments. Worth £4.3 billion ($6.6 billion), Serco markets itself as a “solution to government”, which takes over government services and runs them for profit.

It has run Australia’s disastrous and increasingly unstable refugee detention centres since 2009, owns two Australian super-prisons and took over Western Australia’s court security and custodial services in June.

The $210 million WA contract was handed to Serco after private prison operator Global Services Limited — or G4S — was found to have been responsible for the death of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died of heatstroke in the back of a prison van in 2008.

This month, Serco began training new workers to transport prisoners between jails and courts.

Robert Bell, a former senior officer in Britain’s public prison service, was in the first group hired by Serco to begin the training. But he told Green Left Weekly that, after only one week of training, he decided it would be a mistake.

“Serco are now carrying on the contract with the same G4S workers, and it was their colleagues who contributed to Mr Ward’s death,” he said.

Two workers formerly employed by G4S, and overseen by supervisors transferred from Britain on temporary work junkets, ran his training.

“The contract [for ex-G4S workers] never stopped. All they did was a series of weekend inductions for the G4S workers and gave them a new uniform.

“I did the first week of the Serco training period. It was a week of spin, not training. The head of human resources from Sydney came on the first day and told us what a fantastic company Serco was.”

Bell said there was a culture of silence about Serco’s working conditions even on that first day. After saying he was not impressed with Serco in Britain, a supervisor told him “some things are better left unsaid” and training staff had been told to “look out for troublemakers”.

Health and safety was emphasised in induction lectures, but not put into practice. “The trainer told us you’d wait to see physical injuries before saying anything,” Bell said.

The new workers were expected to carry out six weeks’ training and then start working with inmates. But it would be a year before they were considered fully qualified, with no recognition of prior experience, and be paid only the minimum wage.

“Over here the top pay rate is $25.40 an hour,” Bell said.

When he indicated he was considering resignation, human resources ended Bell’s contract before he even put it in writing. Serco’s employment contract allowed the company to sack workers without notice. “They could sack without reason in the initial training period.”

Serco is well known for running prisons on the cheap in Britain. Bell worked for many years at a British high-security state prison where he saw firsthand how Serco cut corners on its workforce.

“Serco came to deliver prisoners and the staff were just driven to the bone, working long hours. And they were on terrible money.

“A female supervisor bragged about their 28-hour shifts during the recent [British] riots. I said I hope Serco aren’t thinking of introducing 28-hour shifts in Australia. She said, ‘we just need to get the job done’.”

Bell said government prison workers were often sent to intervene when prisoner unrest broke out. “We had to bail out private centres run by Serco, when they lost control, we’ve had to go in.”

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