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.

Canberra Times review #LeftTurn

Co-editors of the book, Jeff Sparrow and yours truly, will be speaking Wednesday night at the Australian National University in an event co-sponsored by the Canberra Times. Contributor Wendy Bacon will be joining us. On Thursday night Jeff and I will be appearing at Gleebooks in Sydney along Tad Tietze and Larissa Behrendt. Next week Jeff and I will be in Melbourne talking #LeftTurn alongside Kim Bullimore and Margaret Simons. Let the national tour continue!

Here’s today’s Canberra Times review by Jack Waterford:

LEFT TURN: Political Essays for the New Left. Edited by Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow. MUP. 279pp. $27.99. Reviewer: JACK WATERFORD

This is a book of essays by writers who would mostly think themselves to be alienated from, or ostracised by, the Australian Labor Party which has been in power for five years. But the essential complaint of the essayists is that this is not a government motivated by leftish ideas. Some are Greens, some are Trots, one has never exactly recanted the hard-line Stalinism of her first 50 years, some are anarchists, and some would be rudely characterised, particularly by the Labor old guard, as luvvies, inner-city dwellers or moralist members of the chattering classes.

That they are out of power, and feel they exercise little influence is underlined not only by the critical tone of many of the articles, but a general lack of focus on what might once have been thought issues at the centre of any intellectual engine room of left-of-centre politics. There are articles, despairing of course, on Aboriginal affairs, and refugees, and the environment, as well as on sexism, feminism, the media, the decline of unionism, human rights and, of course, economic boycotts in support of a free Palestine. No doubt, these are all riveting topics – important even in their own right – but they are not, as most of the writers would despairingly agree, first-order issues for most Australians, and certainly not for the government of the moment. Some, but not all, of them should be. The essayists’ criticism of the Gillard government is not of its moving too little too slowly, a frequent complaint of the left, but of actually moving in the wrong direction.

They do not have much to say about general economic management, education, social welfare, the general state of the world, international relations (apart from Israel), or even the individual, the family, the community and work, or liberty and happiness, other than, incidentally, in the course of demonstrating general disapproval of consumerism, liberalism, neo-liberalism and the need to coerce social change so as to protect the environment. Perhaps that lack of connect does as much to explain why so many of them are usually not engaged in the debates at the top table.

Not that it is all dreary. There’s Guy Rundle, for example, in a brilliant essay on shopping malls, the shutting down of consumer choice and sensibility, and the need to think about some liberating of the working week and the city living environment. Like the best Rundleism, it rarely proceeds in straight lines, or short sentences, but the deviations, and casual insults, are often enjoyable in their own right:

”The relentless expansion [of corporates promoting brands, franchises and shopping malls] is contingent upon minimising risk in the haphazard sphere of consumption, and so enormous amounts of money and effort are devoted to standardising and patterning human desire over time, through the application of marketing strategies and spatial design, increasingly informed by the disciplines of psychology and sociology – often coming from university faculties that have budded off practical schools of marketing, as public funds for pure disciplines dry up (and as fat consultancies beckon).”

Go Guy: the book is worth reading for him alone.

Larissa Behrendt also has a thoughtful piece, while the bullets that Chris Graham lets fly, if as always a little scattergun, do not miss targets. But there is neither much in the way of policy prescription for the subjects being addressed, and even less to a more general question of whither the Left? Even who the Left? Or, (sigh), why?

Join Left Turn contributors Antony Loewenstein, Jeff Sparrow and Wendy Bacon at a free Canberra Times/ANU literary event chaired by Emeritus Professor John Warhurst on Wednesday, 6-7pm, Finkel Theatre, ANU. Bookings essential: events@anu.edu.au or 6125 4144.

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