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 and in paperback in January 2017.

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.

How to consider identity, pride and country

My weekly Guardian column:

I rarely feel proud to be Australian. Perhaps it’s a personal distaste for any form of nationalism, or my long-held belief that human rights abuses increasingly define our nation as brutal, petty and racist. It’s hard to feel pride when we lock up children in Pacific detention camps and incarcerate indigenous men at record rates.

When I wrote a column in the Guardian last year about gaining German citizenship, I explained that:

“My identity is a conflicted and messy mix that incorporates Judaism, atheism, anti-Zionism, Germanic traditions and Anglo-Saxon-Australian beliefs. And yet I both routinely reject and embrace them all. It sounds exhausting but it’s actually invigorating. I never feel I belong anywhere. I can’t be a Jew, atheist, German or Australian without a bundle of caveats.”

A number of readers understood my point, feeling culturally and socially unsure where exactly to fit in. Yet others wondered why I felt so estranged from my country of birth, Australia. After all, they insisted, we aren’t perfect, no country is, and we’re far freer than the vast bulk of states on the planet.

The message appeared to be that I should be grateful for what we have, stop the leftist self-loathing, celebrate the strengths and condemn the faults while campaigning to make them better.

I think about the notion of identity and the ways in which our public discourse constantly insists on a bland association with Australian mateship, a cliché notion that means everything from waving the flag on Anzac Day to enjoying a beer with friends on Bondi beach.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these acts, but they’re largely undertaken by men and women from Anglo backgrounds using alcohol as a perennial lubricant. Because our political and media elites are mostly white, it’s hard not to conclude that pushing this particular version of Australianness hasn’t been designed for the Muslim imam, the asylum seeker from Pakistan or the Aboriginal man from Katherine. How truly inclusive is our country?

During last weekend’s Sydney Writer’s Festival, I heard Australian historian Henry Reynolds, author of many books (including the recent Forgotten War on the battles between white settlers and Indigenous fighters), speak on the great silences that still permeate this nation. “We should stop looking overseas for meaning”, he said. “It’s time to come home, and look at our own history.” Reynolds resisted the current Australian government’s push to take our history back to imperial times. He asked us:

“Why do you celebrate Anzacs so much? With tens of thousands killed in foreign wars we have to say these men died for a cause, fighting for democracy. But I don’t think they did. Recognising our past is important and this affects how we see our future.”

Listening to Reynolds made me reflect on my own uncomfortableness when assessing whether Australia has ever been the “lucky country” for the masses of men, women and children never treated as equal citizens. The Saturday Paper recently investigated the shockingly high number of black kids in state care – 1,000 children are taken every year in New South Wales alone – which they headlined, The Next Stolen Generation.

How can these facts not affect our feelings towards the place we call home?

Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser took part in another writer’s festival session last weekend. He discussed his recent book, which calls for the closure of the US intelligence base Pine Gap and the abolition of the US alliance with Canberra. He was asked by a questioner about the real Australian spirit.

We like to think of ourselves as larrikins and anti-authoritarians, the man said, yet as a nation we blindly defer to US whims on war and policy. Fraser agreed and said that it would take a political shift to become a truly independent country. I wish I didn’t agree with him, but we have never been really been free from foreign direction.

So where’s the dissent from this worldview, from the idea that perhaps I should be far more thankful for the peace, security and artistry offered here?

The 2013 World Peace Index found Australia was one of the most peaceful places on earth. True, I feel weirdly excited when watching Australia play the World Cup football, even though we have no chance of the championship. I travel the world and defend my nation’s essential goodness and decency, even though I harshly condemn its discriminatory stance. I’m excited about the new film by Australian director David Michod, The Rover, because it’s a cinematic story with a local, dystopian heart. I was deeply impressed during the writer’s festival by the ingenuity of Sydney-based special effects company Animal Logic when talking about their remarkably creative work. I like that tourists in Sydney can purchase a kangaroo scrotum keychain.

Does it matter that citizens aren’t always proud of their country? My role as a journalist and commentator isn’t to heap praise on political leaders, or presume their motives are pure. My responsibility isn’t to find happy stories to make readers feel good about the world. As US investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill said on a panel with me during last week’s Sydney writer’s festival, our role as reporters isn’t to develop Stockholm Syndrome when being around the powerful, military or elites.

Governments come and go and Australia is undeniably a more equal society than when I was born in the 1970s, though there’s a long way to go for true parity between all the different classes. This reality is a computing impossibility within a capitalist system, so wishing for it is fruitless.

The issue here isn’t falling into the trap of proving how much I love my country to appease the false patriots who demand allegiance to the draconian idea of “being Australian”. Instead, I’ll believe that my country could one day, with the population not being led but leading, become a nation in harmony with its original, Indigenous inhabitants and reconcile its colonial past with a bright and egalitarian future.

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