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.

“After Zionism” reviewed in Al Akhbar English

The following review by Rebecca Whiting appears in Al Akhbar English:

Book Review: After Zionism Edited by Antony Loewenstein and Ahmed Moor, 2012 Saqi Books

Last September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas bid for Palestine to receive full member-state status at the United Nations, based on the pre-1967 borders. After enraged reactions from Israel and the US, the UN member states voted against it. Now, Abbas is preparing to make a down-graded request for Palestine to be a non-member observer state, a move that if accepted would grant the PA leadership participation in General Assembly debates and improve their international standing and sway. Debates are raging as to what these political constructs and terms would mean on the ground for the Palestinian people.

After Zionism is a collection of essays by academics, activists and journalists analyzing the present day Israeli state and the ongoing daily suffering of the Palestinian people. The book’s main aim is to encourage debate surrounding the one-state solution to the conflict engulfing historic Palestine, demanding an outcome in which all Israelis and all Palestinians would live as equal citizens.

The authors by no means share a single vision on the issue; their essays range from advocating a one-state democracy as an inevitability to others explaining why this possibility, which would render Israel no longer a Jewish majority state, would never be allowed to come to pass. The scope of the subjects and views addressed in the collection allows for meaningful analyses of the current landscape, how it was reached, and what the possible future outcomes might be.

The introduction, written by the two editors Antony Loewenstein and Ahmed Moor, argues that talk of a two-state solution has now been empty for some years. In their view, the voracious colonial expansion on both sides of the Green Line as well as deep divisions among Palestinian factions serve to endorse this position.

The first few essays divulge in detail the narrative expounded by the Israeli state since its inception and its denial of the Nakba. The authors explore the mechanisms by which the Israeli state so effectively erased the collective memory of the ethnic cleansing that was an essential element of its birth.

In the thread of explaining the background to the present day situation, the next essays dissect the Oslo Agreements negotiations. The negotiations were designed to ensure that the Israeli state could control the demographic, consolidate its hold over Palestinian land and lives, and maintain its international diplomatic standing. It was a “peace-process” according to a Zionist agenda and the protracted talks allowed for continued Israeli settlement expansion with political impunity.

By this stage in the book, one feels quite overwhelmed by Israel’s seemingly unstoppable hegemony, the strength of the establishment machine in effecting the Israeli state’s refusal to recognize Palestinian rights, and at how impossible to confront the status quo is. At this point comes the first essay that characterizes the power wielded by the Palestinians, citing their unique ability to garner support and solidarity. The crescendo is sadly short-lived as the essayist, Saree Makdisi, goes on to call for a battle in the field of symbolism and imagination that is hard to feel compelled by.

Several of the essays are optimistic in their conviction that this era is a time of great change in global thinking. From the internet allowing more access to truth and reality, uncensored by propagandists to the uprisings across the Arab world amid demands for democracy, they feel certain that they global community is becoming increasingly aware and simultaneously less tolerant of human rights abuses.

In a discussion of the evolving environment, several of the essays argue that as more American Jews feel they have to choose between their liberal humanitarian views and supporting the state of Israel, the Israel lobby with its powerful hold on American policy will gradually lose its sway. Most interestingly, the realization is made that the Zionist movement has in fact sabotaged itself. With its ravenous expansion of colonial control and its wars of aggression it can no longer maintain its mask of democracy and its appeal to the Diaspora Jews and is hence becoming increasingly isolated in the international arena. More than one writer, however, tempers the optimism by remembering that amid this change in sentiment, no change has yet been noticeable in America’s policies.

It is not until one of the last essays in the book, a dissection of the legal possibilities and ramifications of a one-state solution, that it is mentioned that Palestinians living in the 1967-occupied territories can be expected to oppose a unitary state, not wanting to co-exist with their long-time oppressors. Then, in the essay, ‘How Feasible is the One-State Solution?’, Ghada Karmi notes that in a 2009 poll, only 20 percent of Gaza and West Bank Palestinians favored a bi-national solution. These are the first acknowledgements that for all the theorizing, the wishes of the people whose lives are under debate must be considered.

Israeli academic and activist Jeff Halper makes the crucial point that it is absolutely essential for the Palestinian people to have representative political leadership backed by civil society movements and organizations, as “Non-Palestinian civic players, numerous, articulate and active though they may be, can neither represent the Palestinians nor take an independent leadership role. It is the Palestinians themselves who must provide the leadership and direction.” These factors call into question the value of an international academic debate on the subject, though, as repeatedly recognized by the writers, Israeli policies will never change without external pressure being exerted.

Nearing the end of the book, the reader might well feel frustrated by the seemingly insurmountable obstacles to real change being implemented. At this point a bold strategy is suggested: “voluntary annexation of the Occupied Territories to Israel, thus transforming the struggle against occupation into one for equal civil rights within an expanded Israeli state.” The challenges and outcomes of such a move are discussed here in one of the most interesting parts of the book.

In an anti-climatic finale, the last essay propounds that the early, pre-formation of the state of Israel Zionist ideology was not inherently statist or colonial and explores the Israeli psyche of victimhood and staunch “ethnic-exclusivist nationalist ethos,” and argues that change will never come about without a dramatic shift in the national ethos. Although interesting and valid points are made, the reader is again left sensing unconquerable obstructions barricading the way towards positive change.

 

Throughout the compendium, calls and suggestions for action are somewhat thin on the ground. The Boycott, Division, and Sanctions movement is widely supported by the authors, though their views differ as to the strength of its efficacy. The power of the book lies instead in its approach to this debate that through becoming more widespread can lead to action on both civil and legislative levels.

Variations in style and address from the eloquently academic analyses to the recounting of personal experiences give the book an accessibility and human aspect. The validity of the subjects covered is enforced by the political pragmatism intertwined with the reality and emotive accent of personal experience, giving the reader an arsenal of information, analyses and theories.

The collection of different approaches could leave the reader bewildered as to which line is the most plausible, most realistic, most just. And in this we find an accurate reflection of the moral and legal contradictions entangled in the situation. There is, however, one point on the authors unanimously agree: the fight now cannot be for power or for territory – it must be a fight for human rights.

 

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