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.

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.

Campaigning for the boycott of Sri Lankan cricket team

I’m honoured to be asked to be a public face of this campaign (via Tamil Guardian):

Renowned Australian author Thomas Keneally has spoken out against Australia playing cricket with Sri Lanka and called for a break of sporting ties, as calls to boycott Sri Lankan cricket continue to grow.

Writing to Keneally, the Tamil Refugee Council stated,

“For too long Australia has turned a blind eye to the mounting evidence that the Sri Lankan Government committed war crimes against the poorest of its own people, including the slaughter of more than 40,000 innocent Tamil civilians at the end of the civil war in 2009.”

“There will be a stain of injustice that won’t wash out of the cricket whites if the human rights abuses of the ruling Sri Lankan regime pass unremarked.”

Keneally, who had previously spoken out after the suicide of an asylum seeker fleeing Sri Lanka, responded,

“All the matters your letter raised are issues we can’t pretend about anymore, and if our government keeps up with their present tricks, they may be subject to bans and blacklistings, too.”

Keneally, was joined in endorsing the boycott call by Sydney Peace Foundation chair, Stuart Rees; human rights lawyer, Julian Burnside, AO, QC; former deputy Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Bruce Haigh; Norwegian film-maker Beate Arnestad; Greens MP in NSW Parliament David Shoebridge; independent journalist and author, Antony Loewenstein; Associate professor and director, Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, Jake Lynch; Professor and journalist, Wendy Bacon, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, Tamil Youth Organisation (Sydney), Uniting Church Minister, Rev. Richard Wootton, and 3CR Radio in Melbourne.

Also supporting the campaign was the Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA), an umbrella body of Tamil organizations in the States and territories of Australia and the two cities of Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand.

See their full statement below.

“Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA), the umbrella body of the peak Tamil organizations in the States and territories of Australia and the two cities of Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand, is well aware that Australia has used sports sanctions effectively to bring oppressive regimes to change their way of ruling and bring relief to their respective oppressed citizens. Australia has used in all these cases Cricket as their tool to succeed.

“First when the black people of South Africa were oppressed under the then Apartheid regime and later when the Zimbabwean White land owners were being evicted from their farms by the Black natives under the notorious Mugabe regime, Australia joined several other countries not to play cricket with the South Africans and Zimbabweans until the respective regimes revert back to observing democracy and rule of law.

“AFTA has been raising its concern to the Australian government that Australia has been turning a blind eye to the mounting evidence that the ruling regime in Sri Lanka has committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the slaughter of more than 40,000 innocent Tamil civilians during the final phase of the civil war in 2009 as reported by the independent panel appointed by the UN Secretary General to advise him on how to proceed with the accountability process in Sri Lanka.

“AFTA is disappointed that during his recent visit, our foreign minister Hon. Bob Carr pledged unqualified support to Sri Lanka to host the next CHOGM in 2013 by a regime that is comparable to the South African Apartheid regime and Mugabe’s regime, whilst Canada and Great Britain are contemplating whether to attend this meeting. If Mugabe, who unleashed violence against the White land owners of Zimbabwe, cannot be a friend of Australia, how could we do business as usual with the Rajapaksa regime that is alleged to have committed genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes? Why is this double standard? Are the lives of Zimbabwean White land owners more valuable than the
Tamil people in Sri Lanka?

“It is high time for all Australians to implore the Gillard government and the Cricket Australia to consider suspending sporting ties with Sri Lanka until Sri Lanka:
restores rule of law and genuine democracy including independent judiciary;agrees to independent international investigations against war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide; and negotiates with the Tamil people for a genuine political power sharing arrangement based on the Tamils’ right to self-determination.

“In this context AFTA welcomes the initiative taken by the refugee Action Collective in conjunction with the Tamil Refugee Council in launching their boycott of the Sri Lankan cricket team with a demonstration in front of MCG on Boxing-day and consider it as a step in the right direction.

“AFTA appeals to all the independent media to help in taking this message to the Australian public.”

  • examinator

    Your righteous passion does you proud.
    However, me I'm a little more pragmatic these days..
    I need to explain what I mean by that. In NO WAY can it be seen as indifference, acceptance or 'the blind eye'. There is no way I'll ever accept that their actions were anything less than Genocide of the worst kind and should be appalled.

    I simply mean that there needs to be and end game beyond the tactic i.e. what is it beyond the banning of sporting ties are you trying to achieve?
    Taking Sri Lanka victors to the HAIG ? to what end? Cumbs, the those behind the Killing fields in Cambodia, SA apartheid hardly got touched. The estimated 4-6 million in Indonesia when Sukarno took over and the Suharto regime's are the stuff of definitions of hell on earth…. East Timor being classic yet in all cases the villains have prospered and even some military are still doing the same again in West Papua . Neither does this litany of man's inhumanity to man and corporate acquiescence, participation or tacit culpability in any way ooze out of the primordial slime of obscenity.
    In all of this the Tamil tigers weren't exactly paragons of virtue either, their crimes against innocent people even their own were equally despicable. So where do we draw the line on prosecutable (revenge) atrocities? IMHO that is both a pit of quicksand and vipers after all people will be people regardless of an agreement on paper.
    Notwithstanding no amount of vengeance/ justice et al is going to reverse a single death. I posit that unless there is an end game (i.e. a greater good) stirring up sectarian, ethnic, religious hostilities is counter productive to ALL Sri Lankans that struggle to survive TODAY. Esoteric(western sensibilities ) Principal is a luxury many can't afford. Keep in mind that South African poverty by and large while Truly awful isn't as appalling dangerous and severe as in Sri Lanka.
    And don't forget the Apartheid was still happening and condemnation was at the national level global … if not entirely corporately… different circumstances (world) and most importantly the boycott had a Practical END game.
    To me the real effort should go into making it know to Sri Lanka we are aware of the killings and work towards it never happening again.
    I'm sure if you asked the surviving Tamils if they preferred ' justice' and the probable violence and instabilty push back by those with something to lose OR (albeit slow and spasmodic) improving conditions now on the answer would be a no brainer.
    Keep in mind many prefer a harsh stability to Chaos and instability.
    it is too easy for us in our assumed arrogance comfort expansive lifestyles and philosophise and project them on the mass peasants whose primary goal is immediate survival.
    The Chinese Modern leader once wisely said "with 1 billion poor starving peasants we can't afford western democracy (consumerist excess consumption) ….first feed them " .
    Likewise that same leader when berated by the US prez for not letting his people leave China he quipped "ok how many million do you want"
    Be careful what you wish for the consequence may not be that palatable.