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.

On Bernie Sanders and ending privatised prisons and detention camps

My column in the Guardian:

US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is on the warpath against private prison contractors. “Corporations should not be allowed to make a profit by building more jails and keeping more Americans behind bars,” he wrote on Facebook in August. The following month he introduced a bill in the Senate, the justice is not for sale act, which would block the federal government from collaborating with these private firms.

“We cannot fix our criminal justice system if corporations are allowed to profit from mass incarceration,” Sanders argued.

America imprisons more people than any other country in the world. 2.3 million are currently in prison, a 500% increase over the last 30 years. African-Americans and Hispanics are disproportionality represented and private companies are reaping the rewards.

The major corporations involved, CCA and Geo Group, have had minimum occupancy requirements signed into their contracts in many states’ facilities. Serious prison and immigration reform is not in their interests. But Sanders is determined to eradicate a business model that guarantees huge numbers of prisoners and immigrants remain little more than dollar signs.

The industry has deep pockets and well-placed connections. Two leading presidential candidates, Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Hillary Clinton, are close to lobbyists for CCA and Geo. Without taking financial incentives out of the justice equation, it’s impossible to imagine meaningful reform and serious reduction for the most vulnerable locked up every night.

Australians should look at the prisons debate in America with envy. Although its incarceration rates are far lower – except for Indigenous men, where the rate per capita is worse than during apartheid South Africa – the public discussion around the issue is poor and predictable.

Neither the Liberal government nor Labor opposition talk about it. The closest we came was under Kevin Rudd who pledged (and failed) in 2007 to return immigration detention to public ownership when he took government.

Today, British multinational Serco runs all the mainland detention centres while off-shore sites are managed by Transfield. Growing numbers of states are seduced by the false allure of outsourcing their prisons to overseas corporations. This message is propagated by some sections of the media.

And in New Zealand, a Serco-run prison in Mt Eden is under investigation in relation to allegations of mismanagement. A majority of New Zealanders now want Serco kicked out of the country despite prime minister John Key defendingthe company. The private sector had a role to play he argued, because otherwise the public service would be “fat and happy, and that wouldn’t deliver the services Kiwis want”.

Both conservative and some progressive politicians continue to falsely argue that outsourced facilities improve “efficiency” yet evidence from Australia and the USshows that workers rights, pay and benefits, let alone decent healthcare, food and conditions for inmates, often deteriorates when a private firm runs a facility. There’s no incentive to improve conditions when these benefits will negatively harm the bottom line.

This is why the Bernie Sanders message of ending secret connections between prison corporations and the state within three years is a challenge to the Australian political and media class.

Divestment campaigns in firms profiting from detention or prisons are growing locally and globally. It’s time for serious public debate, as is occurring in the US, on the benefits of rehabilitation and community service over imprisonment. Where is the Australian Bernie Sanders?

no comments – be the first ↪