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.

#LeftTurn editors talk to each other

Following the very positive of my new book Left Turn from leading independent bookstore Readings this week, here’s an interview between co-editor Jeff Sparrow and myself:

Editors Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow discuss Left Turn – a collection of essays from our leading political writers, including Larissa Berendht, Christos Tsiolkas, Guy Rundle and more

Antony Loewenstein: You were an activist before you became a writer and editor. Why do you think the Left still matters?

Jeff Sparrow: Because Australian politics has reached a dangerous impasse. The world situation is becoming increasingly fraught, and yet the simplest of reforms now seem entirely off the table. Climate change provides an obvious example of the growing gulf between what needs to happen and what’s actually being offered but there are plenty more instances.

Crucially, the range of ideas given serious consideration in Australian public life has become scarily narrow. In some ways, you could say the real division today lies not between the two main parties, but rather between the beliefs accepted by all political insiders (neoliberal economics, support for the US alliance, moderately conservative social norms, etc) and any other ideas whatsoever.

What’s more, the central tenets of that insider consensus seem impervious to external challenge. In other fields, being wrong about everything would be considered a career handicap. In Australian politics, the pundits who touted for the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have only become more influential, just as the economists who entirely failed to predict the GFC or the European meltdown dominate the discussions.

That’s the idea behind this book. It’s an attempt to open up debates, to give to voice for arguments from the Left, positions that generally don’t get much of a hearing.

JS: As an independent journalist, how do you think the Left should react to the deep distrust of the mainstream media, especially when it comes to war, politics and protests?

AL: Not just whinge about it but both better critique the failings of the corporate media and support alternatives to it. Take the post 9/11 period. Far too many mainstream journalists haven’t just been physically embedded with the American and Australian military in Iraq or Afghanistan, they’ve been embedded psychologically with patriotic fervour. ‘Our’ side doesn’t commit crimes, we’re told, it’s an aberration if soldiers massacre civilians. This is pure propaganda and not the impression of civilians in a range of countries we’re occupying, including Afghanistan (I just returned from there and heard it myself).

In Australia, there are few Leftists given space to challenge the establishment line over war and peace. There are occasional voices contesting this policy or that strategy but few who have consistently claimed that the ‘war on terror’ is more about instilling fear in the community than killing our enemies.

The writers in Left Turn don’t merely complain about the status-quo; they try to give alternatives to wilful, mainstream media blindness.

AL: Why hasn’t the Left been more successful in articulating alternatives to the GFC? Does the Occupy Movement represent an answer?

JS: The general cynicism about so many institutions, from newspapers to politicians, often translates into a disengagement from politics of any kind. Voters disenchanted with the major parties are just as likely to tune out from political discussions as they are to explore alternatives.

That’s why the Occupy phenomenon was so important, since it managed, even if only briefly, to capture the political imagination. In my chapter on Occupy, I quote the American writer Barbara Ehrenreich: ‘Perhaps the best kept political secret of our time,’ she says, ‘is that politics, as a democratic undertaking, can be not only “fun”, in the entertaining sense, but profoundly uplifting, even ecstatic.’

There was certainly something of that in the Occupy protests. It’s the sentiment the Left needs to recapture — an ecstatic sense of the possibility of real change.

JS: Are you optimistic about the political future?

AL: I have no faith that the major parties in the West are interested in or capable of serious reform. We see this in Australia, Britain, America and much of Europe. These are political hacks who live and breathe the neo-liberal agenda despite its public popularity being at an all-time low. In my view, third or fourth party alternatives are vital to resurrect of true democracy.

But I have some hope in independent and online media to investigate parts of our world that can inform a deeper political understanding in our own country. In a globalised media environment, we can see instantly the failings elsewhere and hopefully learn from them.

A largely unregulated market system remains in place across the West and Occupy offered a small window into a far more equitable system. An issue like climate change will only be solved this way. Furthermore, if more people realised the realities of our foreign policy on the nations suffering because of them, I like to believe the political elites would be forced to adjust accordingly.


Jeff Sparrow is the editor of Overland literary journal. He is the author of a number of books including Killing: Misadventures in Violence and the forthcoming Money Shot: A Journey into Porn and Censorship.

Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist and author of two best-selling books, My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution. He is currently working on a book and documentary about disaster capitalism.

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