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.

Christos Tsiolkas takes his #LeftTurn

Today the book I co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, Left Turn, is officially released. Buy one, buy ten, tell your friends!

An extract of the chapter by famous writer Christos Tsiolkas appears in the Adelaide Review this month:

One of the most uncomfortable viewing experiences I’ve had in my life came watching an episode of John Safran vs God where the comedian organised for a group of Aborigines to knock on the door of a house, the front of which displayed a plaque reading, ‘We are proud to acknowledge the Wurundjeri People as the traditional owners of this land’. Two young Whitefella women opened their front door to be met with a group of Blackfellas asking politely if they could move in. When one of the astonished women asked what made them think they could demand that, the Blackfellas pointed to the sign.

It was a brilliant skewering of the Left, a devastating reveal of the limitations of symbol. Watching the sketch was mortifying because I recognised myself in the young women’s embarrassed and confused reactions. I, too, have been in houses displaying such upfront identification with Aboriginal solidarity and land rights.

Safran’s talent is for provocative comedy that is both intellectually cogent and ideologically dangerous; it is teasing and confronting and explores the deeply contradictory social meaning we attach to race and religion. Like Lenny Bruce, Safran can make us laugh at the pomposity of our bourgeois pieties and then have the chuckle get caught in our throat when he reveals to us our own perversities, and how deep the rich veins of racism, bigotry and hatred run. This is exactly what happened when I first watched the Safran sketch: I laughed, and then I thought about the two white women’s embarrassment. My laughter ceased. That could be me, I thought, and I couldn’t contain the resentment spilling through me. I positively hated that Indigenous mob milling around the front door of that inner-city terrace, detested them for mocking and shaming those two young women. I had to bite back on a word. The sketch made me acknowledge how deep inside me the phrase ‘black bastards’ has found a home. That recognition sickens me. But it also convinces me that the work of resisting racism is an ongoing and continuous process.

John Safran vs God was first aired in 2004 but I was reminded of it recently while spending a few hours mindlessly scouring through the infinite wasteland called YouTube. Early Roxy Music led me to T-Rex led me to Italian prog-rock led me to Italian vintage porn which led me to experimental short films from the early 1970s which led me to Lenny Bruce which led me to John Safran. Six degrees of separation. I was able to see more clearly how the comedian’s target was a certain smugness in the bourgeois Left. It seems to me that this smugness, along with righteousness and hypocrisy – I believe these three qualities are interrelated – remains a problem for the contemporary post communist Left.

Of course, smugness and righteousness do not only belong to the Left and progressive liberalism. A perusal of key rightwing blogs will reveal plenty of fixed assumptions; a plethora of moral indignation disguised as political opinion. It is possible to argue that the Left, too, needs to adopt aspects of this indignation and righteousness as a form of counterattack. But though I can see the attraction of such battle metaphors, I am sceptical about how useful they really are in galvanising support, for winning hearts and minds.

Read the whole thing. It’s a cracker.

one comment ↪