Gary Younge

The god that failed

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Last month's midterm elections in the US saw a surge in support for the Republicans, fuelled by the growth of the right wing Tea Party movement. Gary Younge examines the US after two years of unfulfilled expectations.

Photo: Fibonacci Blue

After rereading The God That Failed, a book in which six prominent ex-Marxists expressed their disappointment in communism, the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said voiced his annoyance at what seemed like a show trial for a straw man. "Why as an intellectual did you believe in a god anyway?" he wrote. "And besides, who gave you the right to imagine that your early disbelief and later disenchantment were so important?"

Interview with Gary Younge: the contradictions of identity

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Identity politics have increasingly come to shape political dialogue. Gary Younge, Guardian columnist and author of a new book on the subject, spoke to Esme Choonara about immigration, racism and class.

Why did you write a book about identity?

It's an issue people talk about a lot and that has become increasingly central to our politics. But we don't often talk about it in the most informed ways.

After the election

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I was with an African American guy on the morning of the election; a thoughtful working class guy who must have been in his 50s. When I asked him what it felt like to come out from voting he started crying. Even he didn't know where it came from.

I met up with him later that evening in a bar on the south side of Chicago. People were out celebrating the possibility of what the US might be. That sense of possibility had all but been extinguished over the past seven years. There had never been a consensus for George W Bush. Bush didn't win his first election and in the second he only got around 52 percent of the vote. People felt that they had been excluded from the national conversation, and therein comes the symbolism of this black man who is the kind of anti-Bush.

US elections - is real change coming?

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Barack Obama has risen from idealistic Democratic outsider to become the first black US presidential candidate of a major party. Gary Younge explores the importance of the Obama phenomenon which has inspired millions, but also the limitations of his political agenda

There was something different about the Martin Luther King Day parade in Charleston this year. To the drumbeats of the marching bands from black schools and more sombre sounds of local black clergymen, came the spirited chants of representatives from local black churches and a throng of the overwhelmingly white coterie of Barack Obama volunteers: "Obama '08! We're ready. Why wait?" Among them was a young man who was "so depressed" after Obama's New Hampshire defeat that he had dropped everything he'd been doing in Guatemala and flown back to help out.

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