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.

Australia’s future must not be all about digging up minerals

Australia has a long history of romanticising the individuals who make a fortune selling our natural resources, regardless of the cost to the environment. Gina Reinhart, profiled in this stunning New Yorker piece, is part of this tradition, pushing tax-free, economic zones and advocating low wages so she makes a killing. It’s vulture capitalism on crack:

“You vs. gina rinehart,” the banner headline reads on The site invites you to enter your annual salary. If you enter sixty thousand dollars, it informs you that Rinehart makes that amount every 1.7 minutes. Below that, a rapidly increasing number calculates how many hundreds of thousands have “landed in Gina’s pocket” since you landed on this Web site. Finally, “Guess who made $107,703 sitting on the toilet today?” Not you. Among the things that her estimated 2011 income could buy: three fully armed Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carriers; “Jamaica.”

The sheer distorting weight of Rinehart’s wealth is perhaps best understood in relative terms. The American economy is ten times the size of Australia’s, so in the United States an individual fortune equivalent to hers in relation to the national economy would be somewhere around two hundred billion dollars. That is roughly the combined net worth of the four richest Americans. Or seven Michael Bloombergs.

Australians are not known for their deference to the moneyed. I once worked as a pot washer in a casino restaurant in New South Wales. It was a big kitchen, and the pot washers were at the bottom of the job ladder, below even the dishwashers. And yet we made an excellent wage and, as employees, we had entrée to the casino’s private members’ bar, which was on the top floor. We would troop up there after work, tired and ripe, and throw back pints among what passed for high rollers on that part of the coast. Once or twice, my co-workers spotted the owner of the casino in the members’ bar. They called him a rich bastard, and he, in turn, bought us all drinks.

That was 1979. Australia, to my enchanted eye, was a country full of wisenheimers, smart-mouthed diggers with no respect for wealth or authority. Jack’s as good as his master, the saying went—and “probably a good deal better,” Russel Ward wrote in “The Australian Legend.” This skeptical, irreverent, proud self-image was rooted in the early experience of convicts transported from Britain and, later, in labor conflicts with landowners and industrialists. Australia was the land of the fair go—of equal opportunity, and a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. People used to make fun, in the nineteenth century, of the “bunyip aristocracy”: nouveau-riche Australians who wanted to settle themselves on top of the colonial social heap.

All that is changing. Inequality is on the rise. The share of income going to the top one per cent in Australia has doubled since 1979. (It is still less than half the share going to the top one per cent in the United States. Sixty years ago, the two countries were, by this metric, nearly the same.) According to many critics, including leaders of the current Labor government, Gina Rinehart and her fellow-billionaires pose a direct threat to Australia’s egalitarian tradition.

In 2010, the Labor government introduced a super-profits tax on minerals, hoping to capture more of the mining boom’s lucre for the public purse. Rinehart and her colleagues funded a huge publicity campaign, unprecedented in Australia, against the tax. Rinehart herself, normally so press-shy, stood on a flatbed truck in Perth, wearing a string of pearls, and shouted to a crowd, “Axe the tax!” Within weeks, Kevin Rudd, then the Prime Minister, had been deposed by the right wing of his own party. His replacement, Julia Gillard, came up with a mining tax so watered-down that two of the biggest mining companies operating in Australia have paid nothing to date.

Hancock Prospecting is actually a small company, with some forty employees at its offices in Perth. It collects royalties, looks for minerals, stakes claims, negotiates deals. It litigates, prodigiously, but uses outside counsel. It has no press office. Publicists have been retained as consultants, but never seem to last. The company’s headquarters are in a modest building in a quiet neighborhood in West Perth. By contrast, BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining firm, occupies thirty-four floors of a forty-five-story building in downtown Perth, and that’s just for its local operations.

Gina Rinehart’s wealth has many sources, starting with her inheritance of Hancock Prospecting, which was worth about seventy-five million dollars, and the old Rio Tinto royalties, which were roughly twelve million a year when her father died and, with increased production and a soaring iron-ore price, have since grown wildly. These royalties will be paid in perpetuity. Rinehart inherited or has acquired the rights to some of the largest mineral leases in the Pilbara, believed to contain billions of tons of minable reserves of iron ore. Hancock Prospecting owns fifty per cent of an iron-ore mine at Hope Downs, in the Pilbara, which opened in 2007. It is operated by Rio Tinto and pays Rinehart’s company, at current prices, around two billion dollars a year. Hancock Prospecting may be minuscule compared with the multinationals, but its value is enormous and Rinehart controls all its shares.