Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Many events have been planned for the 40th anniversary of the 6th October 1976 blood-bath, and that is a good thing, especially because of the involvement of young people who are from a different generation. But the question which needs to be addressed today is: why is it that Somsak Jeamteerasakul, Jaran Ditapicha and Ji Ungpakorn are all now political exiles in Europe? All three academics have close links to the 6th October 1976 events.
To answer that question we need to explore the link between the military and the weak monarchy and how the military uses the monarchy to justify military coups and cold-blooded murder of unarmed civilians. We need to explore how to abolish Lèse-majesté. We need to discuss whether Thailand should be a republic. But most of all, we need to discuss how to build a mass movement to topple the current military junta.
Somehow I feel that none of these issues will be discussed at this year’s events.
Latest news concerning the 6th October commemoration is that Joshua Wong, the Hong Kong activist who was due to speak at the 6th October event in Thailand, was been refused entry to Thailand on the request of the Chinese dictatorial regime. He was detained at Bangkok airport and has been sent back to Hong Kong. This is another important issue that needs to be discussed.
On the 6th October 2000, the monument for the 6th October at Thammasart, which had been planned since 1996, was finally finished. Those attending the opening ceremony were in the majority ex-October generation. No high-up officials of the Thai state came, or were invited. The International was played as the monument was unveiled. One column in the Thai language daily Krungtep Turakit reported the ceremony under the headline “socialism will return”. It is clear that any revival of the Thai socialist and democratic tradition will have to confront the history of 6th October and all its legacies head-on. There is no real mystery concerning the event, although those who wish to cover-up the truth claim this. The main point that the Thai ruling class collectively resorted to violence and brutality in order to destroy the struggle for social justice and democracy is obvious to all who care to look. The ruling class have never changed their spots and this is important to discuss today. The killing of pro-democracy Red Shirts by General Prayut and the conservatives in 2010 proves this. The human rights abuses by Taksin before that only add to the evidence. Today we once again live under a corrupt and brutal military dictatorship headed by Prayut. The modern Left has to win the argument with significant sections of society that 1976 shows the real nature of those who control the capitalist system and continue to rule over us to this day. Two even greater tasks of winning the argument for socialism and democracy involve, firstly, learning the lessons from both the achievements and mistakes of the Communist Party of Thailand (C.P.T.), and secondly, the re-examination post-C.P.T. ideology and the much needed methods of struggle by mass social movements in order to overthrow the present dictatorship.