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.

Talking to Jews about Palestine is vital but far from the only task when occupation deepens

During last week’s New York event for After Zionism with Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss, we talked about the responsibility of Jews to speak out against Israeli crimes. But the danger, something I expressed repeatedly, was not falling into the trap of feeling overly obsessed with the internal conversation inside the Jewish community while Palestinians suffer and remain under occupation. It’s an indulgence. Trying to change Jewish minds is only one, albeit important, task.

Here’s Weiss writing about such matters on Mondoweiss:

A couple weeks ago I got in a bit of hot water, and then my wife got in it.

She has an outdoorsy friend who invited us to a garden party in our town. I didn’t know anyone there, but at the end of the party I was in the kitchen talking with an earnest woman about my issue. She said she felt inhibited about speaking out. I told her she wasn’t anti-Semitic if she wanted to engage on it, we needed her engagement; and then I told her what a Spanish woman who works for the UN said to me the last time I was in Jerusalem. “People back home ask me what is the peaceful resolution of this conflict. Then you come here and you see, there is no peaceful resolution.” I said, It’s a desperate situation over there, please get involved.

Just as I said that a darkhaired woman who I hadn’t talked to said, “My friends and family over there don’t feel desperate at all. They like it. Except when the rockets come in to Sderot.”

I was paralyzed for an instant, then said, “Those people in Gaza don’t have any rights.”

“Oh yeah– they don’t have any rights,” she said sarcastically, and walked away.

I mumbled, “I guess I should have been more sensitive.” Her husband refused to shake my hand.

A couple days later our host called my wife and said that the other guest was upset about me and my website. My wife said maybe we should get together and talk about it. She came into my office to ask me when we could get together. I said I wasn’t interested. My wife said, She’s a local artist, and she’s not well informed, you should talk to her. I said that wasn’t true. I told my wife about when I first went to the occupied territories, on a trip with a bunch of Israelis with Breaking the Silence, and after a Palestinian showed us a video of settlers throwing rocks at schoolgirls, I said to an Israeli guy, What do Israelis think about this? He said, They don’t know. And a woman from Machsom Watch who was on the trip turned on him angrily and said, “They don’t want to know.” I told my wife, This woman is very well informed in her way. She doesn’t want to know.

My wife decided to have tea with her and talk about it. She brought maps of Palestinian dispossession and a backgammon set she’d bought for $25 in Bethlehem in 2010. She had thought Bethlehem was a prison, surrounded by walls, and the people there were making handicrafts the way prisoners make license plates. She wanted to show the woman.

Three hours after the car left I saw my wife back on the patio, having a glass of wine and a cigarette. She was upset. She said, You were right. The woman was well informed and didn’t want to hear what my wife had to say. She thought the Palestinians in Bethlehem had to blame. She said, Why is your husband so obsessed with this issue?

My wife said, “Who knows. I’m obsessed with gardening, Sharon’s obsessed with birds. My husband’s obsessed with the Middle East. Who can explain these things.”

I keep thinking back to when I said, “Should have been more sensitive,” and I’m embarrassed about that. It shows how I curb myself in a Jewish audience. I hadn’t known there was anyone Jewish at the party, I’d spoken freely. Then a Jewish woman confronted me and I tightened up.

I told this story the other night at Brecht Forum when Antony Loewenstein and I spoke about the book he and Ahmed Moor edited, After Zionism. My essay in the book is about the constraints on the Israel conversation inside the Jewish community and my determination to break those constraints because my community has such power over the discourse on this matter. But after the incident with the darkhaired woman, I began agreeing with people who have said to me, You spend too much time worrying about that community. It’s a waste of time. They don’t want to know. I love many Jews, and they have an important role to play in the movement for Palestinian freedom, but it’s a waste of time to go into the Jewish community and organize when you’re dealing with such ignorance. Consider that even Peace Now, which has worked for years against the occupation, has to include in its messaging respect for the statement, “God gave us the land,”because it’s dealing inside the Jewish community. 

Joseph Dana talks about this issue in his essay in the Loewenstein/Moor book. There are lots of great Israelis involved in the nonviolent protest movement inside the West Bank. But they’re a fringe of the collective: “[a]t the core of the conflict remains the Zionist dilemma… the need of the Jewish population of Israel to adhere to an exclusivist national ideology.” Dana says the ballgame is upping pressure in the international community.

I want to spend more time talking to Americans period. The recent uprising against the Jerusalem plank at the Democratic convention shows that liberal Americans are getting hip about this issue. The recent politicization of the Iran attack by Netanyahu was also helpful; it put the matter on our front pages, it allowed Obama to come out more strongly against war, because he knows that the American people are deadset against it. Barbara Boxer told Netanyahu to mess out; so did a former ambassador in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. These are the people my wife should be bringing that backgammon set to.

One reason I spent time in the Jewish community was compassion. I thought I could help to save my own group by giving them the news. I worry about people losing their lives. I think about the community I grew up in and try to imagine a way to get out of the current situation without anyone else dying; and I imagined that if I could convince American Jews that some Jewish kids in Israel won’t die if they would just wave the wand and declare, We don’t need a Jewish state, they’d wave that wand. I think that’s an illusion. There’s little I can do to end that belief, and at some level I’ve given up caring.

 

no comments – be the first ↪