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.

The anti-Semitic slur

Stanley I. Kutler, Boston Globe, February 7:

The American Jewish Committee has endorsed an article by Indiana University professor Alvin Rosenfeld linking “progressive” Jewish thought to a rise in anti-Semitism. The article pointedly castigates Jewish critics of Israel ‘s policies, and argues that such criticism questions the very right of Israel statehood. All this, Rosenfeld – and the AJC – insist, fuels anti-Semitism. It is a false proposition.

Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that to be or not to be is not the question, but how to be and how not to be is the essential one. The AJC’s view is that criticism of Israel is tantamount to denying Israel’s right to exist, and that makes you an anti-Semite.

Anti-Semitism has many sources, but the spring of critical “progressive Jewish thought” is a mere trickle. Indeed, there are lonely voices on the left and right who question Israel’s existence – and yes, some are Jewish. A voice here, an article there, by an American Jew criticizing Israel, and the AJC trembles.

The AJC’s real targets are “progressives” – which is their shorthand for Democrats and opponents of George W. Bush’s dubious adventure into Iraq. Along with its favorite stable of commentary writers, the AJC has been an ardent advocate for the Iraq war, fixed with a vision that it would bring forth a new Middle Eastern order. But the war and the vision have failed, and, ironically, at some cost to Israel’s interests.

Israel’s right to exist is not a serious question dividing Jews. But if Jewish criticism of the Jewish state made such Jews anti-Semites, then the world of anti-Semitism would be significantly enlarged. Criticism of the Israeli occupation puts you in the company of a significant portion of the Israel population. Those folks – many of whom are descendants of Israel’s “pioneers” – at best are amused by such an equation. American newspapers have been critical of the occupation, with some significant ones being Jewish-owned. And this has stoked the fires of anti-Semitism? 

  • Waddy

    For Australian readers of this blog, ABC Radio National's Religion Report interviewed Rosenfeld yesterday (Feb 14). See:

    Having already glanced at Rosenfeld's paper, I thought Crittenden could have done better by addressing his specific 'examples' rather than the more general questioning on Zionism's origins (can someone explain the little spat between Rosenfeld & Crittenden over 'blood and soil'?)

    Apparently a counter view to Rosenfeld in next weeks program.

  • suze

    Thanks for the link- I'd caught the end of the Irris Mackler interview in the car. I think the blood and soil thing harks back to some very tricky history- it was as Rosenfeld said a Nazi phrase, but it was also used in a speech by Kurt Blumenfeld, leader of the Zionist federation of Germany which was negotiating with the Nazis. I think the interpretation of ZVfD actions at the time is that they were trying to harness antisemitism to help propel the quest for a jewish homeland. Riding the tiger so to speak which is always a dangerous exercise. (Is this what you were asking?)

    The strange thing about Rosenfeld's analogy is he says comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and South Africa is akin to wishing it's destruction when in fact both Germany and South Africa are quite extant and much the better for having their racist systems of government removed. That said I personally find comparisons to Nazi Germany in hideous taste. It is a deliberate insult to what I think should remain a powerful memory and I don't like either side of the debate weakening the memory of the holocaust.
    I think comparisons to South Africa are entirely in order.