Thailand should be a republic

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The military and the monarchy are so tightly wrapped around each other, like two venomous snakes, that it is necessary to abolish the monarchy as part of the struggle against the military dictatorship.

The Thai military claim that its main reason to exist is to protect the monarchy. But it is the ideology of the monarchy, and all the repression that accompanies this ideology, that props up authoritarian and corrupt military regimes, both past and present.

This is a major reason why we need to fight for a republic. But the actions of key members of the royal family are another reason.

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The future king, Wachiralongkorn, is a vicious, sexist, thug. He is a man who totally disrespects women and doesn’t care if we all know it. He is also well known for inappropriate behaviour at public functions. For example, allowing his pet dog to run up and down the high table, spreading germs at official dinners, where it licked the plates of foreign guests and lapped water from their glasses.

His dead father preached the “Sufficiency Economics” ideology, pretending to be frugal, when in fact he was the richest monarch in the world. King Pumipon has never lifted a finger to defend democracy or criticise the military for killing pro-democracy citizens. This weak and cowardly king also loved his dogs more than his fellow Thais. (See my full obituary on this same site).

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The Queen and her daughters have supported the middle-class mobsters who helped bring about two recent military coups. They are thoroughly reactionary.

These royal parasites are treading on thin ice. As the monarchy goes into a downward spiral, those in power become more manic and oppressive in their royalism. Lèse-majesté charges against opponents of the junta have sky-rocketed. Military courts are the order of the day and an authoritarian sham democracy is being crafted in order to hold “elections” in the future.

After the death of the king people are being witch-hunted on social media for not changing their profiles to black and white.

Ever since the barbaric military crack-downs in the 1970s, right up to the two recent military coups, the military has continuously sought to legitimise itself by using the monarchy. In attacking democracy during the present crisis, the royalists have continually insulted the “ignorant poor”, claiming that government policies to raise people out of poverty are somehow “corrupt”. These are the enemies of all decent working people.

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Yet, Taksin and his fellow business elites are no different. They all promote the monarchy to serve their own interests. For all these members of the Thai ruling class, the monarchy is a symbol of the “natural order of things”, where some are born to rule and the rest are born to be exploited under capitalism.

The tension and division between those who are deeply fed up with the royals and their military allies and those who claim to adore the monarchy above their own lives, is rapidly deepening. The Thai monarchy is well past its sell-by date. Yet change is never automatic or inevitable. All of us who wish to see a free and equal society in this country must work hard to push forward to a democratic and socialist republic. This will take serious political organisation.

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