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.

All singing, all dancing

I was on Queensland’s Gold Coast last weekend with my partner and her family. The weather was warm and high-rise development continued unabated.

We all went to Jupiter’s Casino on Saturday night to see the all-singing and all-dancing Todd McKenney show. A judge on Dancing with the Stars, McKenney is a charismatic, cheesy performer who entertained the mostly middle age audience with show-tunes and Peter Allen renditions.

After about one hour, the pace of the show slowed down and McKenney told another unfunny joke. Then, from behind a bar on stage, former MP Pauline Hanson appeared. “Please explain”, she said, before singing a song with McKenney. Dressed in a blue ball-gown, Hanson looked uncomfortable but this didn’t stop her taking McKenney’s hand and ballroom dancing across the stage. The crowd lapped it up and shouted approvingly. “Only in Queensland”, I thought.

During the interval, I overheard two men discussing Hanson:

Man 1: That Hanson must be pretty desperate for money these days.

Man 2: Yeah, but she’s good looking!

In the second half of the performance, she sang a few more songs. During Peter Allen’s “I Still Call Australia Home”, with a large Australian flag at the back of the stage, Hanson wore a sailor’s hat and seemed to be enjoying the experience. She never looked especially adept at dancing and the lyrics seemed to escape her during the Village People’s “YMCA”.

Hanson has clearly been forgiven in Queensland. Perhaps her past indiscretions, insults and opinions have always been warmly embraced up north. I don’t doubt that many Australians across the country share the sentiment proudly portrayed on her website: “Pauline is the only one who will say what everyone else is thinking, when no one else has the courage.”

Her racism, ignorance and bigotry may no longer be in the public domain though others have proudly claimed the baton. One of the great mistakes of the past, however, was simply dismissing Hanson rather than trying to understand the reasons behind her views. One of the few journalists who attempted this was Margo Kingston in her stunning book, Off the Rails: The Pauline Hanson Trip.

During my night at Jupiter’s, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  • Shay

    As a country Queenslander, I would say that the answer is a bit of everything. Yes, she appealed to plenty of Queenslanders in her day, especially the middle-aged to elderly crowd you would have seen in the audience for such a show. I also think that even among those who didn't agree with her opinions, she became a bit of a martyr for the way the entrenched two-party system spurned her, attacked her, refused her a look-in and, in the end, even criminalised her actions. But I think most of all time heals all wounds, and now that she is not stirring people up and hasn't done for several years, she is good for a laugh and nobody talks about her ideas with a great deal of feeling anymore. She has no influence on our lives, she's just a famous person we knew once.

  • chris

    Yeah, and now she's been replaced by blogs.

  • Gerry

    "Hanson has clearly been forgiven in Queensland."If you have trouble forgiving Hanson, you'd have trouble forgiving a huge slab of the Australian population. Clearly your existence is way too urbanised. Get out into the country. Sit in a pub. Listen. Jesus may well have been speaking of Asutralians when he said "Forgive them, for they know not what they do…" Famous last words…

  • paul

    only in Queensland…… sums up the arrogant, superior and precious attitude of the Sydney/Melbourne elitist left. Hanson was followed nationally by dingbats, not just up here- many of us were embarrassed by the daft cow, and personally I thought she set back actual conservatism by years- her whole schtick (except for immigration) was closer to the Greens than to anyone on the right.