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.

What resistance looks like in austerity-captured Greece

My weekly Guardian column:

The story from an Athens hospital beggared belief. In May a 54 year old man needed immediate heart surgery. He was unemployed and uninsured, a common reality for many Greek citizens since the economic crisis hit in 2008. The hospital initially refused to admit him, fearing they would never get paid, but the man said he would submit the required welfare document when he received it. His doctor convinced the facility that the patient was in jeopardy and must be operated on immediately.

The man, whose name has not been released – though the story has been verified by reliable sources – was lying in the operating theatre waiting to have a pacemaker installed, when a person from the hospital’s accounting department arrived. Because the patient hadn’t submitted the necessary welfare documents, the accountant forced the doctors to stop the procedure.

It was only the next day, after pressure from a unique organisation called the metropolitan community clinic in Helliniko, that the man had the life-saving work. Instead of acknowledging fault, the Greek health ministry preferred to blame the messenger, accusing the metropolitan clinic of concocting the story.

Such issues are increasingly common here in Greece. According to Transparency International, Greece has the most corrupt public service in Europe. The Institute of Economic Affairs found that Greece’s shadow economy in 2012 was equivalent to 24% of GDP.

On a balmy evening last week I visited the metropolitan clinic to see their response to this sad state of affairs. Situated on an old US army base on the outskirts of Athens, the organisation has become an invaluable service for 28,000 people since it began operations in 2011.

A storeroom full of donated medicine is the foundation of its operations. Visiting rooms are staffed entirely by volunteers, 250 Greeks who rotate on a roster.

Spokesman Christos Sideris explained to me that the centre treated the most desperate. “The clinic only accepts the poor and unemployed, people who have no insurance, those on low wages and pensions, all ages and sexes and even former industrialists who have fallen from financial highs,” he said. “Neoliberal ideology is putting money above people’s lives.”

There are a few key rules implemented by the group’s assembly: “No party politics and no money but we will take drugs as donations. We won’t have Greek politicians with TV crews to look around here. The clinic does not advertise who gives drugs, it’s anonymous, and we will try not to associate ourselves with companies, individuals or NGOs who got us into the financial crisis in the first place.”

Founder and key doctor Giorgos Vichas hoped that there would be no need for the facility in a few years’ time – though he’s being asked to advise on similar community clinics across Europe, including a new one just opened in Hamburg, Germany.

Vichas told me that the medical association of Athens tried to close the centre down in 2013, saying the clinic lacked the correct permits to operate. “But then in late 2013 the drugs police arrived with a magistrate who came with a bag of drugs to donate,” he said. “She could have shut us down.”

The clinic is a necessity in a country where extreme povertysuicide and drug abuse are surging. Every time I catch a train around Athens I see Greeks begging for money or selling small pens for a pittance. A constant presence around the city are signs of protesting cleaning women, sacked by the finance ministry in 2013, holding constant protests to demand their jobs back.

For many, they’ve become a symbol of opposition against a state bureaucracy that prefers to talk of selling public assets to appease the EU and arrest the financial decline. China is now getting in on the act, keen to purchase its own part of the Greek state. Brussels is even financing a continent wide drone program. Greece has announced, without any public consultation, that the unmanned vehicles will be used to monitor immigrants over its sea borders.

I find myself agreeing with Slavoj Žižek, who argues that only a radicalised left can save Europe, including Greece, from slipping deeper into the morass of a populist, anti-refugee right.

This left is undoubtedly growing. During a public event last week in Athens with writer Christos Tsiolkas and me, talking about the concept of nation in a fractured, patriotic world, organiser Eugenia Tzirtzilaki encouraged the audience to challenge popular and simplistic notions of identity and find a more inclusive European perspective.

The crowd argued that Greece’s dark and racist past, along with its similar present, must be rejected. Yet finding an effective response to the use and abuse of nationalism, so beloved of the far-right and current government, is no easy task.

Thankfully, there are signs that many Greeks are blaming those directly responsible for the current crisis and not believing a person like IMF head Christine Lagarde, who remains in denial about how her organisation punishes the most vulnerable in Greece.

Greek lawyer Thanasis Kampagiannis is a member of Keerfa: Movement United Against Racism and Fascist Threat. he has spent years campaigning against the growth in extremism. He recently successfully represented the family of Pakistani man Shehzad Luqman, who was murdered by Golden Dawn thugs in Athens in 2013. The accused are now serving life sentences for the crime.

The lawyer is also involved in the likely, upcoming trial of the Golden Dawn leadership, though Kampagiannis remains skeptical it will happen.Collusion between the state and Golden Dawn is rife; nevertheless, he will appear to defend Egyptian fishermen assaulted by the party’s henchmen.

Kampagiannis is encouraged by the growing success of left-wing Syriza. It’s now the biggest party in the nation, but he is concerned its leadership won’t take the necessary “radical” action to rescue Greece.

“I worry that they accept the EU framework”, he said. “Leader Alexis Tsipras thinks you can reform the EU terms on which Greece implements measures against austerity.” With a majority of Greeks now having a “negative opinion” of the EU, Kampagiannis argued that Greece should leave it. In the transition away from Brussels, he told me, “we can have a policy where the working class interests are protected and capital should pay”.

It’s a vision that may find resonance beyond Greece’s borders in the coming decade.

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