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.

The Age/Sydney Morning Herald reviews For God’s Sake

The following review by James Grieve appears today:

By Jane Caro, Anthony Loewenstein, Simon Smart and Rachel Woodlock. Macmillan. 314pp. $32.99.

Here is the latest contribution to the debate on organised religion and the existence of God, started about seven years ago by the so-called new atheists, notably Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. Of the book’s four authors, two are atheists (Caro and Loewenstein), one is a Christian (Smart) and the other a Moslem (Woodlock).

Loewenstein actually defines himself as an “atheist Jew”, though the bone he picks with Judaism has less to do with its theology than with Zionism and Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians. And that, though it is heartfelt and enables him to lambast the Jewish state, it has little to say on Godness as reality or fiction. Also, do I sense in his “Jewish atheism” a hankering after supernatural figments that sits ill with usually accepted definitions of atheism? Is he perhaps a semi-atheist? If so, he is not alone, for the two theists, Christian and Muslim, by disbelieving in each other’s God, are semi-atheists, too.

The book resembles a courteous conversation, in which the debaters in turn express themselves on each of the 13 aspects of the matter of religion that they see as important. Mind you, most of this agenda seems to have been drawn up by Simon Smart; so it has a built-in bias towards things that appear, presumably, self-evident to him, but that may seem less so to non-Christians. The topics include, as one might expect in such a debate, the nature of the universe, the relation between “the supernatural” and science, the existence of suffering and evil, seen as inconsistent with the alleged all-goodness of God, and so on. One chapter, predictable in its content, is on harms wrought by religious believers (and unbelievers). History does tend to show that theists and atheists alike have perpetrated atrocities. More to the point might have been a section, not on the past evils of wars of religion, persecutions and inquisitions, but on the future, on how civilisation, possibly even the planet, can survive, now that men with Bronze Age convictions about doing the will of “God” may soon also have weapons that could destroy us all. At one point, Jane Caro says she finds it revealing to see “what we all agree on”. Perhaps a chapter could have been devoted to that, by way of identifying points of real disagreement. Just because there is no agreement on what “God” means, it does not follow that there need be disagreement on why annihilation may impend. And that is probably a more urgent problem for the 21st century than whether “God” enjoys bacon or deplores contraception.

To say that four people of different beliefs discuss the existence of “God” is, of course, only a manner of speaking. Each of them, after all, puts into that vocable a meaning that, if pressed ever so slightly, shows they are talking of different things. To some, “God” means a manlike entity demanding unquestioning obedience; to others, it has become a threesome, whose main concern is love. To two of the discussants, it is a fiction in any form. These variable meanings of “God” are as irreconcilable as the pairs of words known to philology as faux amis, false cognates: in English, “groin” is a part of the abdomen (or even a breakwater), but the French word groin denotes the snout of an animal. This shows not only that there is no necessary link between signifier and signified, but also that, if all use the same monosyllable for things as unalike as chalk and cheese, sooner or later cheerful consensus will stand revealed as false. This is what makes semi-atheists of the theists, who, while using the same word, reject each other’s “God”. The rules dictated by “God” to Jews about what to eat, whom not to sleep with, what clothes to wear, whose hair shall be cut, who shall be stoned to death and which children should be massacred are not those by which even strict Christians abide, despite theirs being also dictated by “God”.

If human beings had never invented speech, God would not exist. Before words, there was existence, a reality of needs, fears and urges, probably also thought; with words, meaning was invented. As was its bedfellow, credulity. Existence came to be seen as a system of symbols, purpose, magic stones, hobgoblins. This illusion of design was effected by the arbitrary attribution of significances to sounds made by breath and vocal organs. With meaning came three implicit fallacies, handed down to children through language: there must be a reason for things to exist; if there’s a word for something, that something must exist; and the word is the thing. All three confuse thought, by inspiring that most misconceived of questions: What is existence for? This is a circularly-reasoned query, since it presupposes a problem where none exists and seeks an answer to a “puzzle” (Simon Smart’s word) which is self-engendered. It feeds the illusion that it is a question to which religion is the answer. “Religion,” Smart says, “is about finding meaning”, by which he means that meaning inheres in phenomena and pre-exists its discovery. But meaning is only our own heady cocktail of carbon dioxide and imagination. So, the real meaning of “finding meaning” is creating it.

If you agree (or disagree) with statements such as the following, perhaps this is the book for you: “There’s a hidden angelic realm”; “the world God truly intends”; “We are all bound up in a fallen existence”. To me, they neither consist with common sense nor help us to live in the observable world better than their opposites would. They show how superfluous premises do not just contradict the parsimony principle (that, in explaining anything, no more assumptions should be made than are necessary) but lead to ever more cock-eyed, question-begging and convoluted conclusions, as every objection, every new insight that contradicts the premise, has to be fitted into a system of thought not made for it, such as “God created religious diversity for a reason” etc. The more arguments that must be mustered to support such ideas, the more likely both are to be fallible.

This is a book for the young, the immature, the insecure, the undecided. The ignorant, like me, can learn much from it about the practices and mentalities fostered by belief, and disbelief, in organised religion; the unsure may discover, via its dialectical, adversarial structure, reasons to become surer, to embrace a faith or fortify a doubt.