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.

This is how writers with spine relate to the real world

Literary events aren’t devoid of real world politics (well, they shouldn’t be, anyway). The recent cancellation of a proposed Kashmir literature event was a stunning example of such issues being brought into the public domain.

One of the key players behind protesting the event, Basharat Peer, writes wonderfully in The Hindu about why he acted as he did. A writer with real conscience (who I saw speak at this year’s Jaipur Literature Festival about the troubles in Kashmir):

A few days back, the Harud Literary Festival, which was due to take place in Srinagar from September 21 to 24, was cancelled amid great controversy. The event was to be held on the campus of Delhi Public School located outside Srinagar, next to the biggest military camp in Kashmir, the Badami Bagh cantonment. Vijay Dhar, who owns the school, was the main sponsor of the Harud festival. A businessman with strong Congress Party connections, he was an adviser to Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s. Recently, Mr. Dhar was cheerleading the Indian Army’s “normalcy drive” in Kashmir by hosting an army-sponsored and organised cricket tournament, the Kashmir Premier League, on the grounds of his school.

Before the Harud was talked about in the press, I had conveyed my apprehensions to the organisers — the novelist and festival producer Namita Gokhale and her partners, Teamwork Productions headed by Sanjoy Roy and Sheuli Sethi — and suggested holding the festival independently, without any political connections. They chose otherwise. It thus became impossible for me, as an independent writer, to be part of such an event. If I had decided to attend the festival, given the obvious political connections of Harud’s lead sponsor, then tomorrow I would not be able to say no to an event funded by people connected to other political establishments and ideologies. This was the same reason I stayed away, despite several invitations, from the conferences organised by Ghulam Nabi Fai, the Kashmiri-American lobbyist who turned out to be on the payroll of Pakistan’s Inter Services Agency.

We did write an open letter raising political questions, along with several other journalists, academics, and writers, and it was posted on the blog,, giving others the option to sign it if they wished. After describing the situation in the State, our letter said: “We fear, therefore, that holding such a festival would, willy-nilly, dovetail with the state’s concerted attempt to portray that all is normal in Kashmir. Even as the reality on the ground is one of utter abnormality and a state of acute militarisation and suppression of dissent, rights and freedoms”. We added that we would “firmly support the idea of a literary/artistic festival in Kashmir if we were convinced that its organising was wholly free from state interference and designs, and was not meant to give legitimacy to a brutal, repressive regime.”

A few days later, the Harud organisers called off the festival citing threats of violence and a movement to boycott the festival. “A few people who began the movement to boycott the festival have no qualms in [sic] speaking on and about Kashmir across international forums, but have refused to allow other voices, including writers, poets and theatre people from the Valley and across India to enjoy the right to express themselves at the Harud festival,” the statement announcing the cancellation alleged.

This statement essentially implies that Mirza Waheed and I, who have spoken and written across the world about Kashmir, are censors throttling other writers, poets, and theatre people from expressing themselves. This is completely untrue. We did not attempt to persuade anyone who wanted to attend Harud from not attending. We didn’t call for a boycott of the festival. Our Open Letter, in fact ended on the following note: “This letter is an attempt to state our position and to urge the festival participants to ponder some of these issues and concerns.” All we did was to make and state our decision to stay away. The decision to cancel the festival was not ours, but that of the organisers.

It has also been said that our opposition to the festival has denied young Kashmiris a chance to interact with several visiting authors. Let this be clear: Young Kashmiris don’t depend on a glance or a hasty chat with a visiting author to understand the mechanics of writing. An intense conversation about the craft and politics of writing has been going on, away from the glare of the press and frenzy of social media, in many rooms in Kashmir. The journalist Muzamil Jaleel has been running a writers’ workshop every Sunday from his living room for several years now, where scores of young Kashmiri boys and girls discuss their writing and read the best and the brightest of fiction and non-fiction writers. It is a room I have visited on several Sundays to talk to Muzamil’s students.

In my parents’ house, in coffee shops in Srinagar, in online chats and emails, that process continues. When I was a 21-year-old struggling to learn to write, a writer friend told me what to read and how to read. Many of us who signed the open letter critiquing the Harud festival have been passing on the torch, editing short stories, reading personal essays, bringing graphic novels and tomes of fiction and non-fiction for the boys and girls who are growing up to tell the story of Kashmir and the stories of places and ideas beyond Kashmir. It is in those quiet and committed engagements spanning years that Kashmir’s writers are being made, not by pitching a few shamiyanas.

They are not desperate for an autograph; they are reading, thinking, writing in the solitude of their rooms. They won’t be seeking crumbs at a table, they won’t mortgage their souls to government cultural academies and Doordarshan Kashmir, they won’t go begging at the doors of DAVP offices in Delhi. The strength of their work will tear open the gates.

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