Tag Archives: Monarchy

Don’t let the military off the hook by saying that the King ordered the 6th October crack-down and other state atrocities


Giles Ji Ungpakorn

It is fashionable among some sections of the pro-democracy movement to say that King Pumipon ordered the 6th October 1976 blood bath at Thammasart University and also the shooting of unarmed pro-democracy Red Shirts in 2010. Apart from it being untrue, this lets the military and other sections of the elite totally off the hook.

Pumipon is a weak, cowardly and characterless monarch who has spent his useless and privileged life in a bubble, surrounded by fawning, grovelling, toadies who claim that he is a “god”. He has always remained silent about the killing of innocent civilians by the military. Pumipon is a willing tool of the military and this resulted in great rewards. He has amassed so much wealth from the work of others during his reign, that he is the richest man in Thailand. Yet he does not order the military to do anything. It is the military that tells him what to do. He is their “holy puppet”. The military can then claim to be acting in the interests of the monarchy. The real power lies with the military and other sections of the political elite, not with the King.

If we examine the events surrounding the 6th October 1976 massacre of the Left, we should note the cold war context and the fact that the USA had lost its war in Indo-China. It would be wrong to think that there was a tightly coordinated plan, by a single institution, which led to the 6th October events. Over-emphasis on the role of the military, the monarchy or a particular political party would show a misunderstanding of the period. What happened on the 6th October was a result of a consensus among the entire ruling class that an open democratic system was allowing too much freedom for the Left.  However, it is likely that there were both areas of agreement and disagreement within ruling circles on exactly how to act and who should act. The general view that “violent extra-parliamentary methods” would have to be used, led to the uncoordinated establishment of various right-wing fascist groups.

The turn of events leading up to the 6th October contained both planned and unplanned elements. One group who made special plans to crush the Left and stage a coup came from a coalition of Chart Thai Party and right-wing Democrat Party politicians who worked with elements in the military close to the former dictators Tanom and Prapart.

Some observers at the time believed that the monarchy also supported the idea of a coup, hoping to stop the swing to the Left, but also in order to prevent power falling into the hands of unpredictable ultra right-wing forces. Others believe that the monarchy’s plans for a coup were thwarted by the group who actually took power. However, most writers express the view that the monarchy helped to legitimise the blood bath in a broad sense, by showing open support for the right-wing. It would be amazing if a monarchy did not support the Right, given that the Left wanted a republic!

On the 5th October the Tank Corps Radio station and the ultra right-wing paper Dao Sayam called for a mobilisation of right-wing forces to “deal with” the students. Announcers urged people over the radio to “kill.. kill… kill”…..

The military coup which was actually staged at 18.30 on the afternoon of 6th October was not in fact staged by Chart Thai and right-wing Democrat Party factions and their military allies. Instead, the “National Administrative Reform Council” (N.A.R.C.) under Adm. Sangad Chaloryu, which took power and subsequently appointed Prime Minister Tanin Kraivichien, did so in order to prevent the first group from staging a coup. The N.A.R.C. was supported by those factions in the military opposed to Tanom and Prapat.

The general picture of the ruling class that emerges during 1976 is therefore one of a degree of unity on the need to crush the Left, but disunity on how to do so and, much more importantly, how to proceed after the crack-down.


To paraphrase Karl Marx, the Thai ruling class is and always has been a band of warring brothers, united in their hatred of the Left and the poor, but constantly fighting among themselves for power. Over this heap of degenerates sits the King, like a powerless fairy on a Christmas tree, constantly seeking to be on the winning side.

No freedom in Thailand without destroying the power of the military and abolishing the monarchy and lèse majesté

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

In the wake of yet more outrageous jail sentences given to two young activists under lèse majesté, it is important to continue to condemn this law and demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners. Let us not pretend. The use of the lèse majesté law in Thailand is tied up with the power and influence of the military and the use of the monarchy by the Thai elites. Therefore freedom in Thailand is conditional on destroying the power of the military and abolishing the monarchy and lèse majesté. Tinkering about with one or the other will do nothing to expand the democratic space.

Merely reforming parts of the lèse majesté law, as suggested by Amnesty International, would do nothing to increase freedom of expression. It would not bring Thailand up to international standards of democratic nations which do not have this law. Lèse majesté must be abolished. Outrageously Amnesty International in Thailand has supported the use of this law in the past and now it is being unnecessarily timid.

Lèse majesté cases are about punishing people who dare to criticise the powerful establishment and the status quo. They have little to do with “insulting the monarchy”, a phrase often used by much of the international media.

It is unnecessary to explain to most people that the lèse majesté law represents a gross attack on the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and academic freedom. The practical impact is that Thailand has struggled for years to achieve a fully developed democracy, a free press and internationally accepted academic standards in universities.

Lèse majesté prisoners are tried in secret courts and denied bail. The royalist judges claim that the offence is “too serious” and “a threat to national security”. Jail terms for lèse majesté are draconian for those who do not admit “guilt”. Today the military junta is also hearing such cases in military courts. Meanwhile state killers like self-appointed Prime Minister General Prayut, and many others, are never punished. The consequence is that there is no functioning justice system in the country.

Thai dictatorships have used the excuse that their opponents were seeking to “overthrow the monarchy” in order to kill unarmed demonstrators in 1976 and 2010.

Lèse majesté is not just about censorship, violence and intimidation by the state. The widespread use of the law and the manic promotion of the monarchy by the military, and others, is a green light for royalist thugs and other non-state actors to commit violence or make threats against citizens. It applies to all those who are merely accused of lèse majesté by anyone, whether or not they are actually charged or found guilty.

Because the military has always had a problem with trying to legitimise its actions by quoting “democracy”, it has relied heavily upon using the monarchy to shore-up its legitimacy. At the same time, the military also needed to promote the monarchy because royalist feelings are never automatic among the Thai population. This process was initiated in the 1960s. Today the military always claim that they are “protecting the monarchy” and that “they are the loyal servants of the King and Queen”. We see the generals in photo poses, supposedly taking orders from royalty. Yet it is the generals who are really in charge of the Palace. The Palace willingly cooperates in this arrangement, gaining much wealth and prestige.

If we are to understand the role of the King in Thai society, we have to understand the double act performed by the military and the monarchy. For ruling classes to achieve hegemony in most modern societies, they require both coercion and legitimacy. The monarchy symbolises the conservative ideology which gives legitimacy to the authoritarian actions of the military and their allies. It is a double act of “power” and “ideological legitimacy”. In this double act the weak-willed King Pumipon has no real power. Throughout his wasted life King Pumipon has never promoted democracy, social peace, harmony, or the well-being of Thai citizens. He has only defended authoritarian power and gross inequality of wealth.

That is why we need to get rid of the monarchy and destroy the power of the military.

Unfortunately, Taksin is a royalist

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Thai police have arrested a man that they claim to be “Banpot”, the famous internet alias, who regularly published audio clips criticising the Thai Royal Family. The suspect has been identified as Hasadin Uraipraiwan. Earlier, an extremist media channel tried to falsely claim that “Banpot” was the Chiang-Mai academic Professor Tanet Charoenmuang.

The military junta is desperate to link Banpot to Taksin and they are making remarks about a “big capitalist” who is funding these activities. This is not the first time that the anti-democrats and the military have tried to accuse Taksin of wanting to overthrow the monarchy. They believe that it would help legitimise their destruction of democracy.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, Taksin is a royalist.

Taksin has often been accused of wanting to usurp the monarchy and become president. There is absolutely no evidence for this. In fact, throughout the period when Taksin was Prime Minister, he promoted and was seen to be servile to the King, just like the conservative generals who are his rivals. His government paved the way for and participated in the lavish royal celebrations on the 60th anniversary of the King’s accession to the throne in 2006.His government also introduced the “Yellow Shirt Mania”, where we were all told to wear yellow royal shirts every Monday. Both Taksin and his conservative opponents are royalists because they seek to use the institution of the monarchy in order to stabilise the status quo and class rule in a capitalist society.

Following the July 2011 election we saw Prime Minister Yingluk’s Pua Thai Government making it clear that they were royalists. If we look at the use of lèse majesté, the Pua Thai Government’s record of abusing freedom of speech was just as bad as Abhisit’s military-backed Democrats. The Minister for Information Technology and Communication Anudit Nakorntup showed himself to be a rabid royalist censor, threatening Facebook users who so much as clicked “like” in response to a post deemed to be insulting to the monarchy. Worse still, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was appointed as “lèse majesté supremo” to hunt down dissenters.

The reason why Taksin will not lead an all-out struggle for democracy against the dictatorship is linked to Taksin’s royalism, or more importantly, to his commitment to defending the status quo and the Thai ruling class in its present form. He and the generals are merely rivals for power. Taksin wants to re-join the elite club at some point in the future. He is desperate to prevent radicalisation of the democracy movement. But we must do everything to encourage such radicalisation and the struggle for a democratic republic.

The degeneration of the Thai royals

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The obscene and depraved 4 day cremation ceremony for the Crown Prince’s pet dog, “Air Chief Marshall Foo Foo”, clearly shows the degeneration of the Thai monarchy.


Given that millions of Thai citizens struggle to find the funds to pay for the funerals of their loved ones, it is a slap in the face of the poor by a dysfunctional institution. In Thai culture, calling someone a “dog” is an insult. But royal dogs apparently have a higher status than ordinary citizens.

The future king was well known for allowing his pet 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. Given the dog’s ridiculous military rank, one might be forgiven for thinking that the death of his dog was a “blow” to the Thai air force. This is no joke. Prince Wachiralongkorn is a vicious, sexist, thug and his expensive funeral for his dog shows his callous disregard for appropriate behaviour.

His father preaches the “Sufficiency Economics” ideology, pretending to be frugal, when in fact he is 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 loves his dogs more than his fellow Thais. The Queen and her daughters have supported the middle-class mobsters who helped bring about two recent military coups.

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. Seeking to amend any military constitution has now been defined as a “criminal act”.

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”.

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 republic. This will take serious political organisation.

Bang goes the Game of Thrones Conspiracy Theory

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

One version of the “Game of Thrones” Conspiracy Theory was that Wachiralongkorn had to divorce his wife to “clean up his act” in order to be accepted as the next king, rather than being discarded in favour of his LGBT sister (lol !!!)

Yesterday I put up a post saying that… “Wachiralongkorn has divorced his present wife for a new girlfriend. Many will expect to see naked pictures of her soon on the internet. There is no way of knowing whether this will happen, but it would be in keeping with his character”.

Only 1 day later, the naked photos of his new girlfriend are doing the rounds on the internet.

Bang goes this Game of Thrones Conspiracy Theory!!

I have always maintained that:

(1) The Thai political crisis has nothing to do with royal succession and is really about Taksin’s ability to use democracy to win the hearts and minds of the people against the interests of the conservatives. In the first general election since the 1996 crisis, Taksin’s party put forward a raft of modernising and pro-poor policies, including the first ever universal health care scheme. Because the Democrat Party had told the unemployed to “go back to their villages and depend on their families, while spending state finances in securing the savings for the rich in failed banks, Taksin was able to say that his government would benefit everyone, not just the rich. Taksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party won the elections. The government was unique in being both popular and dynamic, with real policies, which were used to win the election and were then implemented afterwards. Previously, the old parties had just bought votes without any policies. Taksin’s policies and his overwhelming electoral base came to challenge many elements of the old elite order, although this was not Taksin’s conscious aim at all. The Democrats lost the election. The military could not compete in terms of democratic legitimacy and support. The middle class started to resent the fact that the government was helping to raise the standard of living of workers and poor farmers….

(2) The Thai ruling class use the monarchy as a puppet. The monarch has always been weak and cowardly, a creature of the military and the elites who surround him and use him for their own ends. They are united in seeing Wachiralongkorn as the next king and if they deviated from this path, for example by placing Princess Sirintorn on the throne instead, they would immediately destroy all the “reinvented tradition” about the sacred monarchy. If an unsuitable member of the royal family can be discarded, why not just have an elected president?

So…the real question for us is not what the upper class parasites are up to but how we can overthrow the dictatorship by mass political action.

The official religion in Thailand is not Buddhism but “Monarchy”

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

As far as the Thai ruling class is concerned, the official religion of the country, which they are forever trying to ram down our throats, is not Buddhism but “Monarchy”.

For historical and philosophical reasons Buddhism has not been the main authoritarian tool of the Thai ruling class. Kings and military dictators were always wary of building up rivals if they promoted the power of the monks. Since the late 1950s the military sought to control the monks and make sure that they were mainly apolitical. This is unlike in Burma or Lao where the Buddhist monks were politicised by the nationalist movements.

Thai Buddhism is also a religion based on the actions of private individuals who try to amass merit. Thai monks do not usually give public sermons in order to control the beliefs of the population. Buddhism is also practiced in a manner which is strongly laced with animistic beliefs in spirits and ancient superstitions or it is mixed with Hinduism.

This is why the mass religion used to pacify and control the masses in Thailand is “Monarchy” and the idea that the king is god-like. This has become much more important in modern Thailand after the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in the 1932 revolution and the reinvention of the monarchy in the late 1950s during the Cold War. Manic promotion of the King took on new proportions during the 1980s. It was a buttress against the ideas of equality and democracy; a justification for the non-democratic influence and power of the military and other elites.

In reactionary Christian or Muslim societies, ruling classes have tried to justify their authoritarian positions and dictatorial decrees by quoting “the holy book”.

The “holy book” is an inanimate object, the work of many human hands, and is open to multiple interpretations. They claim the book comes from “God”. It is a tool used by reactionary rulers and powerful priests to justify their dictatorship and the subjugation of those they rule over. Yet the book also has to have parts which seem to ring true and connect with the lives of the oppressed and those who have little hope.

The Spanish Inquisition was all about ruthlessly rooting out opposition political and religious views. Fascism in the twentieth century also sought to ruthlessly root out oppositional views in the name of the fatherland by using religious-like myths about a pure race from ancient times. None of these authoritarian creeds were based on the use of reason.

The moulding and construction of the Thai monarchy in its present form is like making the “holy book”. The present day Thai monarch is an unremarkable human being, a pathetic creature, who has been built up to be a super human of many supposed talents, but also a god to which people must prostrate themselves. We are led to believe that Pumipon loves and protects his people, especially those with little hope. He is supposed to be an accomplished national leader, peace-maker, educator, economist, scientist, agriculturalist and musician. This myth is merely a huge royal cart-load of horse manure.

Pumipon’s statements are guided by others who have real power in society. His words can be easily manipulated because they are open to multiple interpretations. The region of “Monarchy” is a tool used by the military, the bureaucratic elites, the politicians and the business tycoons in order to justify the “natural pecking order of things” and to “prove” that every undemocratic thing that the powerful elites do is “correct” because it is sanctioned by the god-king.

In the past, Pumipon sat in his secluded palace, soaked in paranoia, surrounded by fawning toadies. The only real friends that he has are his dogs. His dysfunctional and parasitic family were also treated like semi-gods. Now Pumipon can barely function as a human being. Yet he is still useful to the ruling class and so will his son be when he becomes king. The real lack of abilities and social graces of these people is not important because no one should question the “holy book” or in this case the “holy god-king”.

The god-king is defended by severe violence. Today the “Thai Inquisition” is alive and kicking. Armed thugs of the murderous generals use the lèse-majesté law to root out blasphemers and throw them in jail for years without any pretence at justice. Great pressure is placed upon people to “confess” their non-existent sins and thus have their sentences halved with a promise of an early pardon. This helps to “prove” that the country is being undermined by wicked non-believers.

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Not only do we need to get rid of the lèse-majesté law, but we also need to abolish the monarchy and carry out a root and branch culling of the military.