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.

The Left shouldn’t celebrate legal victory against Murdoch’s Andrew Bolt

As I wrote last week, it makes me extremely uncomfortable that the law can tell us, as writers, journalists or citizens, what may be offensive. Should we not have the right to offend and be offended?

It’s a point well raised by Dr Tad on the essential Left Flank site today:

Andrew Bolt is just one reason there is so little trust in the mainstream media in Australia today. But the media is but one of a series of social institutions that has come under increased questioning in recent times. The political class has suffered just as seriously, constantly searching for ways to regain authority lost as its social base has deserted it. The collapse has been most spectacular for the official Left, but such problems bubble beneath the surface for the Right also.
This verdict unfortunately creates a space for the Right to (falsely) claim it is against the unwarranted incursion of state power into people’s lives while simultaneously backing much more destructive state action against Indigenous people. As the global crisis deepens, states will become increasingly assertive in their use of coercive measures to enforce the interests of the ruling elites. When they come after their opponents they will use all the powers they have at their disposal, including those that carry a “progressive” gloss.
Rather than focusing on legislation and judicial recourse, the Left needs to start thinking about how we create facts on the ground that will delegitimize and sideline the likes of Bolt. How can we change the editorial policies of the major media outlets from below, to force social change and accompanying shifts in the terms of debate? Such pressure must come not just from outside the media, but be part of the struggle of media workers against their employers. For too long, too many dedicated, honest journalists — those who want to speak truth to power — have been hamstrung by their bosses’ editorial and business prerogatives. Change can only be won through self-activity, by forcing governments and media organisations to cede their control — a struggle most vividly seen in Egypt today.
These are policies that must be enacted by people themselves, as real democracy demands ordinary people putting their minds and bodies on the line. We should not kid ourselves that laws that gives the courts power to suppress journalism, arbitrate as to what acceptable “facts” are, and use abstract legal notions of racism to silence dissent won’t be potential facets of the elite backlash to such struggles.
I even agree with the Murdoch editor David Pemberthy who argues today that the laws that hammered Bolt could be used for other purposes, something I raised with colleagues last week:
What is there to stop a group of Jewish Australians from suing the Greens for their boycott of Israel and arguing that the boycott is anti-Semitic?
My guess is that such a move against those backing BDS against apartheid Israel will be coming soon, and those on the Left cheering the verdict against the odious Bolt will have egg on their faces.
12 comments ↪
  • Rod Hagen

    Do you think the Greens have told a litany of demonstrable untruths, publicly humiliating and intimidating a community of people in the process, as Bolt was found to have done by the court?

    Or perhaps you don't ever get to see the damage that the continual belittling, denying, damning, and demonising of Aboriginal people as a whole does within the Indigenous community? If you did, I think you'd be a little less sanguine in your defence of the right of Bolt and others to so loudly, publicly & frequently slur them as a group.

  • Marilyn

    Bolt was wrong, crude and depraved though – perhaps you don't understand that the only reason some aborigines are "white" is because government policy of the early 20th century demanded breeding out the black.

  • efj

    'What is there to stop a group of Jewish Australians from suing the Greens for their boycott of Israel and arguing that the boycott is anti-Semitic?'
    To save the presumed connection, given that there isn't one, the prospective litigators would be faced with the defendants joing the dots: that Jewish ethnicity per se is responsible for the crimes of political zionism – the creation of an apartheid state, conceived, created and sustained on the principle of ethnic cleansing.
    The Israel lobby has got high on chutzpah but they can't be that thick as to place their bullshit before a court of law

  • I think the left needs to be careful about this, as I wrote on my blog.

    The filth of racism, the denial of science, the homophobia, can breed like hardy weeds in a ground untouched by the water of class struggle.

    It is in this context that legislative interventions to address racism, homophobia and other systemic hated filled aspects of capitalism spring forth. They are band-aids to treat cancer.

    An alternative is to build the struggle on the ground against racism. In Australia the concrete and most visible manifestation of that is the campaign for refugees and against offshore processing. Another is against the Northern Territory invasion.

    The real power to stop the ruling elites’ lie machines from producing racist filth lies at the point of production.

    A bolt hole anyone? http://enpassant.com.au/?p=11168

  • foxy

    For once you seem to have a point. Why isn't anyone using the act provisions to prosecute re the BDS? The elements look to be met prima facie to me, just of course, in my opinion. One only has to watch the numerous youtube videos of the demonstrators statements placards and behaviour for anyone to judge.

    What an excellent idea Antony.

  • Billy Bob

    Bolt's 'work' is lazy and dishonest. He generally just peddles prejudice (masquerading as opinion) and then back-fills with bollocks to support an illogical, pointless, thoughtless proposition. A tried and tested formula.

    Surely, the defamation is enough to sanction the slob.

    I too am concerned about the judgement. And I only like Bolt as satire and to bolster my disgust at Murdoch and his rags.

  • Boris Hadenuf

    "This verdict unfortunately creates a space for the Right to (falsely) claim it is against the unwarranted incursion of state power into people’s lives while simultaneously backing much more destructive state action against Indigenous people."

    Proof? Citations? Anything? Besides your say-so?

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