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.

Shhh, don’t mention the occupation in Ramallah

Let’s not be under any illusion. Israel bans a famous German, Gunter Grass, because it doesn’t like a poem he wrote. Seriously.

Meanwhile, in Ramallah, a city far too many Westerners believe represents Palestine, which it does not, the illusion of peace is out in full force. Amira Hass in Haaretz explains:

Billboards declaring “She wants a house,” showing a smiling, optimistic-looking Westernized couple, decorate the streets of Ramallah. The only thing left to do is to race over to the nearest branch of the Bank of Palestine and ask for a home loan. Simple? That’s how it’s seemed for the past four or five years when banks, directed by the Palestinian Authority, have conducted an aggressive campaign designed to encourage people to borrow money so as to fulfill their consumerist dreams – purchasing a house, or a wide-screen television, or a new car, or furnishings and new ceramic floor tiles from Italy. The Palestine Monetary Authority required banks to allocate a portion of their capital to loans. Western, especially American, development organizations appeared on the scene and delivered the consumerist message: Take out a mortgage. And people took the hint.

And so the topic of the day is not the Israeli military raids on Kafr Qaddum – the village that during the past nine months has joined in the demonstrations against the plunder of lands for the benefit of Israeli Jews. Not even Palestinian prisoners, especially the hunger strikers whose various fates receive considerable space in Palestinian newspapers, dominate conversation. No. The most urgent, troubling topic is debts owed by each family to banks, the fear of legal entanglements and foreclosure, and the loss of money invested in an apartment that has yet to be built.

Bassam Zakarneh, head of the union of public-sector employees, announced on Thursday that March salaries would not be paid on time. Once again, financial support promised by various countries, including Arab ones, as compensation for an economy that is hamstrung by a foreign occupier, is not being given in full. The Palestine Monetary Authority quickly issued a directive to banks: Do not make any deductions from the accounts of public-sector employees until they receive their wages. Nonetheless, many remain worried. When they took out loans for various consumer binges they banked on the assumption of steady employment. But over the past year the PA has continually had to rely on the dubious method of mass deferment of wages.

Like the electric shutter, the whole American-inspired loan plan designed by the PA relies on an illusion of stability. People are simultaneously tempted by the illusion and also frightened that it will be shattered – in other words, that the status quo will be harmed. And the status quo, lest anyone has forgotten, is life enveloped within Israeli domination, enclaves of Palestinian pseudo-sovereignty, and the continued trampling and appropriation of land outside of the enclaves. Private individuals who need housing, small business owners worried about their investments, owners of large companies who thirst for more profits, banks, local and foreign NGOs, Palestinian security officers, PA big shots and American investors – everyone has a stake and an interest in this bloated bubble staying intact for as long as it can, without bursting.

one comment ↪
  • deliaruhe

    Israelis are behaving in their usual dangerous and silly way over an old man's poem — one poem from a hugely prolific author. In my view, Grass will go down in history as hugely prophetic unless Israel is reigned in.

    Who better than a recovered SS man should know the consequences of being an over-militarized nation feeding on its own paranoid fantasies?

    Grass probably has the same kind of nightmares I do — nightmares of a self-destructive Israel setting the entire Middle East in flames and dragging the US in after it.

    Monolingual English speakers searching for a decent translation of Grass's poem won't find one — at least, not yet. Alessandro Ghebreigziabiher's translation is lously.