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.

Where to now for the Australian Left?

My following column appears in the Guardian today:

Treating voters with contempt is the perfect way for the left to guarantee itself permanent exile from the political scene.

On election night, Melbourne writer Catherine Deveny tweeted: “This is win for racists, morons, homophobes, fuckheads, jumped up bogans, misogynists, billionaires, haters, comedians.” Such sentiments might momentarily make you feel good and superior to your fellow voters, but in the end you’re merely speaking to the converted; succumbing to rage is the wrong response to an outcome you’re unhappy with. Overland editor Jeff Sparrow perfectly articulated the issues the day after Tony Abbott’s victory:

“The left can easily fall prey to bitterness, a disdain for the public who voted in such a deeply reactionary figure. That would be a terrible mistake. Denouncing ordinary Australians as fools and halfwits, as slackjawed dupes of Murdoch too dim to grasp the obvious, might make us feel better but hurling abuse at those you want to convince has never been a successful strategy, particularly in a context in which the left is all too often portrayed as a clique of self-satisfied elitists.”

So let us look forward instead, and analyse what the left should (and shouldn’t) do.

Blaming Rupert Murdoch for Labor’s loss only highlights the lack of viable media alternatives; the Australian Financial Review’s Neil Chenoweth rightly argues that News Limited’s influence is inflated by its own bluster. Finding new and original ways to cover elections is vital, including resourced, ethical and accountable independent coverage from every seat in the country via print, online and social media sources. This could be be financed through ingenuity and a desire for local news to grow (America shows us the way).

A plethora of minor parties thrived this election. One in particular, the Wikileaks party, should have been a far more effective advocate for free speech but was let down by internal mismanagement and lack of transparency (something highlighted by strong Wikileaks backer, Gary Lord, on the day of the election). It’s simply not good enough to claim that libertarianism is opposed by the left and right in Australia, which might explain why Wikileaks polled so poorly. A raft of high-profile departures during the campaign tainted the Wikileaks party’s oft-stated claims of accountability. I write this with sadness, after being a Wikileaks supporter since 2006.

By all means, let’s not ignore the consistent campaign by Murdoch’s minions dressed up as journalists and editors to destroy Labor and the Greens. The “absolutist tendencies” of the Greens, condemned by The Australian this week, is nothing more than corporate frustration over the Greens surviving and maintaining much of its parliamentary numbers; its national influence, likely reduced, will continue.

Already much has been written about the decline of the Greens vote and why this signals confusion amongst the public about the role of the party: are they left-wing agitators, permanent opponents of government, or simply paying the price for sleeping and working with a neo-liberal Labor party? I’d argue the last option. The Greens’ humane policy on asylum seekers was arguably one of the key factors lifting its falling support. NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon is already frankly assessing what her party needs to do under a Coalition government to clearly differentiate itself from the Labor party on key issues such as tackling rising temperatures and Denticare.

Leaving Australian politics to the two major, pro-war parties is not a rational option so a vibrant Greens, and/or alternative left-wing force, is vital. The Greens need a thorough examination of the kind of party they want to be in the 21st century after unsuccessfully joining elite Canberra politics in 2010. For a party so committed to tackling serious climate change, it’s hard to celebrate then leader Bob Brown’s “win” over a climate package that locked in notoriously corrupt international “offsets”, especially from Europe.

The future viability of a party that wants to obtain far more than 9% of the national vote requires a serious investigation into what went wrong. History records very few examples globally of a left, green party succeeding by moving closer to the centre. The German Greens arecurrently suffering this fate.

The Greens candidate for the inner Sydney seat of Grayndler, Hall Greenland, wrote this week that “without a positive and convincing model of an alternative society, voters are going to be generally conservative and defensive.” This should involve explaining why a larger and more accountable public sector, better public transport, more independent foreign policy, open borders, serious action on climate change and more regulation on energy companies must all be part of any long-term strategy.

But this isn’t the 1960s or 1970s. Lives and the world have changed, so the left must adapt to different circumstances and explain why a bigger, publicly funded safety net – unlike the increasingly privatised network of failures in Western Australia under Liberal premier Colin Barnett – is the best way to ensure long-term prosperity.

A serious left will look both inwardly and globally for answers, and they may not like what they see. Canadian journalist Naomi Klein condemns mainstream green groups for foolishly jumping into bed with corporations to reduce carbon emissions. In a clear message to the Greens and other green groups, she explains that such partnerships have been a spectacular failure. She recently told Earth Island Journal that handouts to polluting corporations – a key part of Labor policy, backed by the Greens – has shown “the way in which neo-liberal economic orthodoxy has infiltrated the scientific establishment”. The scale of the climate crisis, due to the likely ongoing burning of dirty fossil fuels, requires sober consideration.

A period of reflection, anger and despondency is expected. But calmer heads will soon realise that a strong left must do more than just resist the onslaught of cultural, economic, climate and covert wars. Whether it’s the Greens or other political forces, a palatable and popular left shouldn’t just wait until the stock market crashes before expecting a rise in support. The global financial crisis in 2008 should have been a golden age for the left, a rare opportunity to show the failures of the Wall Street corruption. The Occupy movement was a brief and glorious moment.

Never underestimate the resilience of vulture capitalism. The challenges faced by the left remain great.