Thursday, November 17, 2016

We are All Muslims

With the prospect of Muslim registration, I thought I would join others by changing my twitter handle to a more Arabic/Muslim sounding name.  Or at least one that I used in college when I had to write two papers for a Politics of the Mideast class, where I had to take both Israeli and Palestinian perspectives.

The basic idea is that if the Trump government wants to register Muslims, the first thing that the resistance must do is register as Muslims.  This poses some risks, but one of the challenges for repression is to identify the target group.  If we are all Spartacus, then who gets repressed?  It may not be sufficient, but it is a first step.

To be clear, also, when I saw "the resistance", I am speaking of non-violent dissent.  While there is much to fear, non-violent protest tends to work better than violence.  It poses risks, and one might want to invest in self-defense if one wants to be a helpful intervener rather than passive bystander.  Four years is a long time, so we need to focus on both the short run and the long run--how to prevent or block awful policies and awful nominees while developing the capacity to win the next elections.

I have no experience in any of this, so I will be relying on and repeating the advice of people who are far sharper than I am.  The one thing that we are quickly learning is that institutions only constrain behavior if people are willing to defend the institutions.  Otherwise, it is all just paper.  Anyhow, changing my twitter id is the very least I could do.  In time, I hope to figure out what else I can do.

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