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.

Sydney Morning Herald/Melbourne Age positively reviews For God’s Sake

The following review by Stephanie Dowrick appears in today’s Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne Age:

By Jane Caro, Antony Loewenstein, Simon Smart and Rachel Woodlock
Macmillan, $32.99

At its best, thinking – and therefore writing and reading – can be transformative. It can allow our vision of life to become more nuanced and, ideally, less dogmatic. Books are key in this, offering a rare opportunity to take our thinking beyond where even the most serious of conversations is likely to go.

It’s perhaps only rare – and therefore precious – books that invite us to investigate that deeply, in part because it has become increasingly common for authors to adopt a highly conversational, self-referencing tone in their writing. This can be attractive but has its limitations, particularly when the writers are presenting an ”everyday” perspective that can be interesting – but is it enough?

I mention this because For God’s Sake makes no claims for specialised reflection. Instead, it’s an intelligent, good-natured exchange between two atheists (Jane Caro and Antony Loewenstein), an evangelical Christian (Simon Smart) and a Muslim (Rachel Woodlock) sharing views on religion, religions, God, life, ethics, meaning and death.

But what vast themes they have chosen to address. Religion can inspire people to sublime levels of conscience and unity; it can also justify or drive acts of barbarous violence. In its hugely diverse expressions as well as in its absence, religion remains profoundly significant in how individuals shape their inner identity and perceive and move through the world. Thinking freshly about this is intensely demanding and I found myself asking more often than I wished how well served readers would be when only two of the world’s major faiths were represented (Loewenstein is a cultural, not religious Jew) and when two contributors think and write from a humanistic atheist perspective, that’s become not just mainstream but the ”self-evident” norm.

In that context, Smart might have the hardest task. He’s the book’s representative Christian, already an awesome challenge given the breadth of views within that profoundly influential faith. That made it disappointing, at least for me, that his experience of his own faith appears sincere but insular, and that his knowledge of (interest in?) other faiths is relatively slight.

Ours is a time when inter-religious understanding is urgently needed, yet many of Smart’s assertions are contentious, including his claim that, ”According to Christian teaching we are alienated from God [and] each other.” This statement is easily passed by, yet has profound social as well as theological implications in a world where Eastern thinking on interdependence is increasingly well understood (although unrepresented here) and conventionally dualistic thinking is questioned.

Muslim writer Woodlock takes Smart up on the question of ”alienation” and shares her unifying belief that ”all of creation is infused with love”. It is also she who points out: ”Because all the great traditions teach love of the transcendent and compassion towards others, where there is violence, barbarity, prejudice and hatred it is a sign the tradition has been corrupted.” A convert to Islam from the Baha’i faith, she is the writer most generally alert to religion’s profound implications.

The other contributors can seem at times too quickly satisfied with what they already know. A tiny example from many possibilities comes when Loewenstein writes: ”I’d love to see ancient religions adapting to the 21st century without removing or diluting their traditions of soul.” He could see that right now. It’s happening, right now.

Yet it is also Loewenstein, the Jewish atheist rep, who affirms that ”the material world may not be enough to satiate the human mind and soul”. And his sister atheist Caro, who though ”perfectly content to think of [herself] as simply a mammal with an oversized brain”, nonetheless reflects a central spiritual principle when she writes: ”True morality lies in being self-responsible.”

What emerges is that all four writers are demonstrably good people and that goodness matters to them. I made notes as I read and while some have too many exclamation marks, others were decidedly appreciative, particularly of moments of brave self-questioning. I found woman-around-town Caro’s honesty about her early struggles with debilitating anxiety genuinely moving, also Woodlock’s love for and confidence in her unpopular faith.

And perhaps that is, finally, the basis on which this book should be read. If the writers’ frankness and warmth towards one another gets readers thinking freshly about their own attitudes towards religion, religions and life beyond the obvious, then it’s a fine start. It might even be enough.

Jane Caro and Antony Loewenstein are guests at the Melbourne Writers Festival. Stephanie Dowrick is a writer and minister who leads an interfaith congregation.