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 tackled by Socialist Alternative

The following review of #LeftTurn appears in Socialist Alternative by Tom O’Lincoln:

Review: Left Turn: political essays for the new left.Antony Loewenstein and Jeff Sparrow (eds), Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 2012

Capitalism is complicated, and so are the challenges to it. So a book like Left Turn, offering an array of agenda-setting arguments, is bound to be ambitious.

Some of the essays tackle structural questions like analysis of the media, something that will be important in battles to come. Many explore the forms of oppression that capitalism generates: sexism, race prejudices, homophobia, refugees and most horrible of all, the relentless attacks on Indigenous people. Some of the chapters about oppression made me think, some are inspiring, and I was struck by how many controversial issues could fit into one book.

In addition to Tom Bramble’s expert discussion of trade unions, quite a few other authors bring out the class dimensions of everything from the media to race. The 17 chapters are all admirably concise, yet at a total of 250 pages there is a lot to think about – the book will provoke valuable debates.

There is a price to the wide scope, however: It’s too diverse to hold together neatly, so despite having two top-notch editors there is a degree of confusion. Why call Elizabeth Humphrys’ and Tad Tietze’s essay “The Science Cannot Save Us”, when the chapter says little about science, but is overwhelmingly about how the market can’t save us? In Rick Kuhn’s penetrating discussion of Marxism and crisis the section called “Solutions” contains no solutions at all.

Be that as it may, Tietze and Humphrys do a good job debunking the vogue for market solutions to environmental crisis, while Kuhn knocks some suitably jagged holes in conventional economics.

Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are all fairly powerful, as we might expect from three leading writers with anti-capitalist politics. Guy Rundle writes about how capitalism colonises time and space. The system puts a logo on every speck of territory, and takes away our free time as the working week gets longer. Rundle want to fight to seize back both time and space. .

Christos Tsiolkis explores the middle class left’s tendency to act superior; and I was delighted to see someone hammer people who dismiss working class folk as “bogans”. Antony Loewenstein exposes hypocrisy in the media, for example over Afghanistan, and Emilie Howie exposes it in the human rights fields. Our rulers are never short of hypocrisy.

Larissa Behrendt and Chris Graham writing on Indigenous struggles are the highlight of the book. Behrendt at the academic end cites data that damns the Northern Territory Intervention. Graham courageously writes in defence of Aborigines driven to violence: at Wadeye, on Palm Island and elsewhere. Sick of hearing from political leaders that “violence is never a solution”, Graham points out how the same people support violent solutions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even more daring, he shows how riots by Indigenous communities have led to tangible gains.

But while we defend, even celebrate, riots by the oppressed, they aren’t a solution. Many readers of Left Turn will come to this looking for a strategic way forward, but they won’t find it, except in fragmentary form.

Jeff Sparrow tries to pull some threads together in an ambitious chapter. Just a touch too ambitious, perhaps. Sparrow is a powerful writer but, like the book generally, he crams in an incredible number of arguments. He dashes from the Occupy movement and Janet Albrechtson to Bakhtin and Bakunin, from Pinochet to Bono, and from Zizek to William Lane. One ironic transition after another, he does make valuable points – but they are easy to lose track of.

The Occupy movement and the fate of Chilean singer Victor Jara – murdered in Pinochet’s military coup – are important themes in the chapter. They represent different utopian strands reaching for the future, and a refusal to be co-opted into the flattened culture of neoliberalism.

One of the singer’s most thrilling lines is: “Now is the time that can be tomorrow.” To this, Sparrow responds: “The achievement of Occupy was to provide a context in which Jara’s revolutionary optimism once more becomes real.” The singer called for a “strike at power”, a philosophy Sparrow rightly endorses.

More needs to be considered – despite the fact it would mean removing other material from this crowded discussion. If we take a critical look at the politics of Jara and the Communist Party, we find that his version of the song actually took the socialism out. Jara’s lyrics were designed to win an election for social democrat leader Salvador Allende, not make a radical social transformation.

Jara and his comrades never contemplated a strike at power. That was empty rhetoric. They and Allende trusted the military, and harvested a ghastly defeat. This was the crucial lesson from Chile, and from Indonesia 1965, and from many other experiences.

More needs to be considered, but this slightly crowded book isn’t a bad start.

one comment ↪
  • Michael Thorn

    So because Jara's song was used as a campaign tune for Allende the book is too crowded?