Tag Archives: republic

Popularity of Thai king sinks to new low

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Following the expensive and wasteful coronation of the despicable Wachiralongkorn, the popularity of the Thai monarchy has sunk to a new low. This is hardly surprising given his behaviour and general character. [See https://bit.ly/2VRw0v9 ].

Wachiralongkorn peering out of his ridiculous cage-like fancy dress

Among young people, lack of respect for the monarchy can be seen in messages on social media, especially on twitter, which are both explicit and ambiguous. One of the trending hashtags that has gone viral is #กูให้พวกมึงรู้จักพอเพียง which is what was written on a sign near former princess Srirasmi’s tin shack toilet. In English it means “I have provided this for you so you lot can know sufficiency”. It is written in crude language and makes a reference to Pumipon’s Sufficiency Economics ideology. Of course neither Pumipon, Wachiralongkorn, nor any other members of the royal parasite family ever practiced sufficiency or restraint of their greed.


The social media posts seem to indicate that anger and disgust at Wachiralongkorn have become stronger than fear of the draconian lèse-majesté law. It supports the reports from many sources that respect for the monarchy is almost non-existent among young people. Of course, to be absolutely sure about this, a proper statistical poll would have to be conducted. But this is not possible in Thailand at the moment.

Behaviour by the royals, which includes insisting on stopping all traffic, and even temporarily pausing nearby rock concerts, as they travel along the normally congested roads of Bangkok, can hardly help the popularity of the royals.

Also the practice by various members of the royal family in insisting that they do not have to pay for luxury goods in Bangkok shops, can be added to the list of disgust for the royals. None of them are immune from such behaviour, including the royals who claim to be “commoners”. [See https://bit.ly/2SHQrZW ].

The crisis of legitimacy for the monarchy will be something which will deeply worry the military junta and its friends. Even the yellow-shirted middle-class royalist reactionaries cannot hide their lack of support for Wachiralongkorn. The numbers of ordinary people attending the coronation ceremony, who were not forced to come because of their government jobs, was far less than the people who attended Pumipon’s funeral.

In the past I have speculated about this problem and suggested that one of the junta’s options would be to rely less on the monarchy to legitimise military intervention in politics and to promote the 20 year National Strategy. [See https://bit.ly/2l63Z1I ]. Another option is to concentrate on promoting nationalism. Recent changes to the National Anthem video on all TV channels indicates this to some extent. The junta has also organised electoral fraud in an attempt to give itself “democratic” legitimacy.

The junta and its allies who have been spouting about defending the monarchy with their lives are in a weak position because they are now trying to defend a rotten indefensible king.

Defend Monarchy
They are now trying to defend a rotten indefensible king.

But a Thai republic will not just emerge automatically from the sinking popularity of the monarchy. For this to happen, a pro-democracy social movement opposed to both the monarchy and the military will have to be built. This is because the monarchy is still being used by the military to defend its actions and they may try to emphasise the institution rather than the individual who is on the throne.  What is more, politicians and monarchies can find ways of reviving their popularity.

The present Thai king is both vile, unpopular and weak. He is hardly the powerful “absolute monarch” claimed by some. [See https://bit.ly/2EOjsNL ]

This is a good moment to campaign for a democratic republic.


Wasteful, greedy, idiotic and insulting to women

[sharing or liking this post in Thailand risks a long stretch in prison]

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Thai people are being subjected to a lavish and wasteful ceremony in order to crown the idiotic, vicious, sexist and greedy Wachiralongkorn. The aim is to legitimise the illegitimate military junta and the rest of the barbaric Thai ruling class.

Wachiralongkorn peering out of his ridiculous cage-like fancy dress

Wachiralongkorn never did very well at school or college. He was not interested in studying. But now this self-centred idiot claims the right to be crowned Head of State, sitting on an enormous pile of wealth.


A Head of State should have some basic manners when conducting themselves in public. Yet he shows total lack of respect for Thai citizens. A good example is arriving hours late for a degree giving ceremony, where he just kept hundreds of students waiting until midnight.

At a high level dinner in Thailand, Wachiralongkorn allowed his dog, “Air Chief Marshall Fufu” to run up and down the high table, sniffing and licking food off the plates of Thai and foreign guests. It did not occur to him that this was a problem. He finds it impossible to tell right from wrong.

Wachiralongkorn is also known to have driven his jet on to the runway at Bangkok international airport to block the plane of the Japanese Prime Minister. This was over a personal grudge about a woman. For him, his self-centred behaviour was more important than diplomatic relations.

Members of the diplomatic community have long gossiped about how Wachiralongkorn is incapable of holding an intellectual conversation with anyone. This meant that ambassadors tried to avoid the embarrassment of meeting with him.

But much more importantly, Wachiralongkorn as King, is an insult and a slap in the face to over 35 million Thai women.

The fact that Wachiralongkorn falls in love or in lust with many women is not wrong. If he wants to take nude photographs of them to keep for himself, that is a personal matter between them and him. But his behaviour shows his basic disrespect for anyone, especially women.


Millions of Thais and non-Thais have seen the video of Wachiralongkorn with his now ex-wife Srirasmi . They are sipping wine and eating by a swimming pool. She is naked and he is fully dressed. No accounting for taste, one might say. But it goes far beyond that. The male servants are in full uniform and there are people taking the video and snap shots. Wachiralongkorn makes his ex-wife crawl on the ground, naked, to take cake, like he was feeding a dog. Millions of Thais have seen a whole clutch of nude pictures of his other various girlfriends. He is an arrogant sexist pig. He does not have an ounce of respect for women. He abuses them with his power and money. And his money is taken from the collective wealth of the Thai people. He is now the most wealthly man in Thailand.

Why were these pictures released to the Thai public on the internet? It is hard to guess what goes on in Wachiralongkorn’s depraved mind. He is so alienated that he does not know how to respect anyone. The release of these pictures is not an accident. They have been coming out at regular intervals for years. Maybe he wants to destroy the women’s dignity and show that he is boss. Maybe he wants to show off that he can “pull” beautiful women. Maybe he feels that no one can touch him and he can do what he likes. In other words he doesn’t give a damn.

After Wachiralongkorn ditched Srirasmi, he has subjected her to systematic abuse, ordering his minions to make her life a living hell. The picture below from the German newspaper Bild asks whether she is under house-arrest.


And this, also from Bild, is the tin shack which Wachiralongkorn has forced Srirasmi to use as a bathroom and toilet while under house arrest. The sign reads “I have provided this for you so you can know sufficiency”. It is written in crude language.


Now we hear that Wachiralongkorn has appointed one of his many mistresses to be Queen. He also has a habit of appointing his women to high positions in the military. This tedious behaviour only adds to the burden of Thai citizens in paying for the lavish life-styles of these parasites.


The mainstream Thai press have been busy reporting the so-called “achievements” of the new queen. None of these amount to anything. That is not surprising given that the only abilities of the royals that really matter are the ability to have sex and procreate and the ability to be a parasite living off the hard work of citizens.

Do not forget that his mother, the old Queen, looked upon her son with fondness and forgave all. They are close. The old Queen and one of her daughters openly supported the semi-fascist PAD and Sutep’s anti-democratic mob. His father, Pumipon, remained silent, refusing to criticise his son. This is a filthy rich dysfunctional family, like most royal families. We should get rid of the lot of them and this includes the equally parasitic Crown Princess Sirintorn and her elder sister Ubonrut.


Remember that in Thailand people are forced to stand up and show respect to the Head of State. Draconian laws exist to enforce this. People must crawl and use Royal Language. They must wait in snarled-up traffic as the Royals rush past. They must pay taxes to support the Royals’ rich life-styles. Today this includes Wachiralongkorn’s palace in Germany, where he chooses to spend most of his life, jetting back and forth to Thailand when necessary. It shows that he really does not care about Thai society and merely wants to be King.  It also shows that he has little power and is just a useful tool of the military. [See https://bit.ly/2EOjsNL and https://bit.ly/2teiOzQ .]

The fanatical royalist generals who are in power today claim that the monarchy needs to be defended to the end because it is a symbol of the Thai nation. They claim that those who criticise the monarchy are a threat to national security. But this symbol of Thailand, which the generals promote, is an expensive embarrassment. Wachiralongkorn is idiotic, vicious, sexist and greedy. He does not represent the vast majority of Thai citizens.

Yet the generals are hedging their bets. The new TV video to accompany the National Anthem at 6pm stresses nationalism under the military. Clearly just relying on the rotten monarchy is not a very safe bet.

Those looking for a far better symbol of Thailand can look to the struggles and sacrifices of ordinary Thai citizens in the long-running fight for freedom and democracy. The Head of State should therefore be an elected ordinary citizen.

Thailand should be a Republic.

Two main reasons why Thailand should be a republic

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

There are two main reasons why Thailand should be a republic and they do not include the myth that King Wachiralongkorn is supposedly an Absolute Monarch.

If we consider the reason why many countries such as Britain, Sweden, Spain, The Netherlands and Thailand have retained the institution of the monarchy from a previous era, we can understand the role of monarchies under modern capitalism.

Monarchies fulfill a reactionary ideological role which tries to promote the idea that class divisions and inequality are somehow “natural”. Monarchies are a statement that most people are born “low” while some are born “high”. It is only the high-born folk who deserve to be surrounded by immense wealth and it is only they who have the God-given right to determine political, social and economic policies.

The reactionary ideology of the monarchy serves to legitimise privilege, elitism and a lack of democratic space in society. It is an ideology which protects the ruling capitalist class. So it becomes “natural” for bosses to dictate policies in the workplace and for big business to exclude ordinary citizens from making economic policy. It becomes “unnatural” for anyone to suggest that we take away the immense wealth and power of the few in order to distribute it among the many.

The ideology of the monarchy also serves the purpose of trying to claim that we are all part of one nation with similar interests; the “National Interest”. This is an attempt to reduce class conflict.

Of course, this reactionary ideology is constantly being challenged from below, in Europe and in Thailand, which is why the elites seek constantly to reproduce it.

In this way, the monarchies and capitalist ruling classes of Britain, Sweden, Spain and The Netherlands are little different from the Thai monarchy and the Thai capitalist ruling class. This is despite some differences in detail, such as the functioning lèse-majesté law and the practice of crawling on the ground before the king in Thailand.

Many Thai political commentators are unable to break free from the socialisation by the Thai state and wrongly believe the ruling class myth that the king is all powerful. They are encouraged to believe this by ruling class nationalism which promotes the idea that Thailand is somehow unique. Therefore comparative studies of other countries are irrelevant. Therefore foreigners “cannot possibly understand Thai politics and society”. Some foreign academics, like the ones from the “Cornell Mafia”, but others too, just love to perpetuate myths about the unique Thai or Asian psyche which makes Thai or Indonesian politics so “mysterious”. Sharp analysis disappears among statements about “barami” (charisma) or about the “fact” that Asians love powerful leaders.

In Thailand the role of the monarchy is to legitimise the actions of the military, big business and the conservative bureaucracy. Thus, the military use the excuse about protecting the monarchy in order to install themselves in power and to try to crush opposition. Elected business politicians like Taksin also used the monarchy to help with his legitimacy. The difference between Taksin and the military is that the military have only royal legitimacy to justify their political interventions.

I have argued in many posts on this site, and also in longer articles, that King Pumipon and King Wachiralongkorn did not and do not have political power. The main obstacle to freedom and democracy today is the military junta. But it is the ideological role of the monarchy which we also need to abolish.

King Wachiralongkorn has not created a new “absolutist” regime, but what he has been busy doing is feathering his own nest. He insisted on a change in the military’s constitution so that he could continue to enjoy the good life in Germany without having someone else appointed over his head to act on his behalf. He has reorganised royal wealth by concentrating it in his own hands. He has asked the Bangkok zoo and other organisations to move out of prime real-estate land so that he can earn higher profits. It is all about personal greed and that is all he is interested in and all he can actually control.

This brings us to the second reason why we need a republic in Thailand. The Thai king is one of the wealthiest people in the world and given the average levels of wealth of the majority of ordinary Thai citizens, this is an obscenity. If all this ill-gotten wealth was taken off the monarchy we could improve education, health care and build a properly funded welfare state.

So the two main reasons for creating a republic in Thailand are the reactionary ideology symbolised by the monarchy and the fact that it is a parasitic institution wasting millions of much-needed resources.

Wachiralongkorn is greedy. But changes to the Crown Property Bureau are not that significant.


Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Since the days of Pumipon, the Thai king has owned a huge capitalist conglomerate, in the shape of the Crown Property Bureau (CPB). This makes the king the richest person in Thailand and one of the richest monarchs in the world. The CPB owns a large number of shares in the Siam Commercial Bank and Siam Cement. It also owns huge amounts of land, often in prime real-estate sites in Bangkok. Historically it never paid tax.

Royalists have long claimed that the king did not actually “own” the CPB but that it belonged to the monarchy as an institution. This was always as illusion. Simon Montlake, in a 2012 Forbes article, called the CPB a “family enterprise, gifted to the next generation”. It is neither a government enterprise, nor a private firm, nor a charity. King Pumipon was formally in charge of its investments and appointed all members of the board except for the Minister of Finance, who acted as a powerless Chair. The investment policy and management of the CPB were secret affairs. None of the profits created by the CPB were returned to the Thai State. The King also had a separate private fortune. That is why Forbes always calculated Pumipon’s wealth based on the CPB holdings and his private fortune. [See https://bit.ly/2yknoCQ ].

The CPB was not “independent” of the king in anyway. The wealth originated from forced labour and a monopoly on trade in the Sakdina feudal era. In the late nineteenth century the Sakdina system was overthrown by King Rama 5 under pressure from Western Imperialism. The monarch’s ill-gotten gains were transformed into a capitalist enterprise. However, immediately after the 1932 revolution, which overthrew the absolute monarchy, the equivalent of the CPB in those days was nationalised under the control of the government.

This situation did not last for long and in 1948, when a pro-monarchy government came to power, they robbed the state of this public asset, giving it to the king. However there were three pots of wealth associated with the king. The Crown Property Bureau was organised independently from the king’s personal wealth, even though he controlled both. There was also a bureau which owned and managed some of the palaces “on behalf of the nation”, although ordinary citizens never benefitted from this royal wealth either.

Now King Wachiralongkorn has formally taken personal control of all the monarchy’s wealth, including the CPB [see https://bit.ly/2t3zA5Y  ]. This is not an attempt to grab public assets for his own personal use, but an attempt to make sure he is in sole control of what Montlake called “the family enterprise”. It makes sure that the previous royal officials and managers who were loyal to Pumipon are not able to interfere with the whims of Wachiralongkorn. It also makes it clear that no one else in the royal family has a say.

Those who get over-excited by the odious behaviour of Wachiralongkorn are always looking for conspiracy stories to claim that he is seizing political power and becoming the most powerful man in the country. This is not the case. He remains weak, greedy, extremely rich, and uninterested in affairs of the state. [See https://bit.ly/2oD4YGD ].

The monarchy should be abolished and its wealth put to good use in improving the lives of ordinary citizens. But the main obstacle to freedom and democracy in Thailand is the military junta and its plans to extend its influence for the next 20 years through a system of “guided democracy”.

See also: https://bit.ly/2MyX4Yx


The Thai monarchy has changed many times. It can be abolished.

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

This year’s anniversary of the 1932 revolution, which occurred on the 24th June, was an important one. There is a major ideological battle to achieve hegemony over the history of the event. [See http://bit.ly/2pwS5Pg ]

The importance of history is in what it can tell us about the present. It is important not to see the present monarchy, even in Pumipon’s time, as an unchanging “left-over” from feudalism. A brief study of Thai history can explain this. But the important conclusion is that it is possible to abolish this parasitic institution once and for all.

Before the major transformation of the Thai state into a centralised capitalist model in the 1870s, “Thailand” as a nation-state did not exist. The back-projection of “Thailand’s history” from the modern era to Sukotai (1270) and Ayuttaya (1350-1782) must therefore be seen as rewritings of history by people such as Luang Wichitwatakarn and Prince Damrong, to serve modern nationalistic ideology.

Before the early Bangkok period the dominant economic and political system in the central and northern region can best be described as the “Sakdina” system. This was a loose political entity based on clusters of powerful cities, such as Sukotai, Ayuttaya, Chiangmai, and Krungtep (Bangkok), whose political power changed over time and also decreased proportionately to the distance from each city. Not only was there no such thing as a centralised nation-state under an all-powerful king, but political power to control surplus production was also decentralised.

In this Sakdina system, control of surplus production, over and above self-sufficiency levels, was based on forced labour and the extraction of tribute. This was a system of direct control over humans, rather than the use of the ownership of the means of production to control labour. Its importance was due to the low population level. The majority of common people (Prai) living near urban centres were forced to perform corvée forced labour for monthly periods. There were also debt slaves (Taht) and war slaves (Chaleay Seuk). This direct control of labour was decentralised under various Moon Nai, nobles and local rulers (Jao Hua Muang) who had powers to mobilise labour. The result was that under the Sakdina system both economic and political power was decentralised away from the king.

Trade also played an important part in the economy. Control of river mouths as export centres became more important as long distance trade increased. Local rulers sought a monopoly on this trade in cooperation with Chinese merchants who ran sailing junks as far as China and the Arab world.

Although the increasing penetration of capitalism and the world market into the region had already increased the importance of money and trade, in the early Bangkok period, it was direct pressure from Western imperialism and class struggle from below that finally pushed and dragged the Bangkok rulers towards a capitalist political transformation. The British imposed the Bowring Treaty of 1855 on the rulers of Bangkok. This treaty established free trade and the freedom for Western capital penetration into the area without the need for direct colonisation. While the monopoly over trade, enjoyed by the Sakdina rulers of Bangkok, was abolished, vast opportunities were created for the capitalist production and trade of rice, sugar, tin, rubber and teak. An opportunity also arose to centralise the state under a powerful ruler. Thailand’s Capitalist Revolution was not carried out by the bourgeoisie in the same style as the English or French revolutions. In Thailand’s case, the ruler of Bangkok, King Rama V or “Chulalongkorn” brought about a revolutionary transformation of the political and economic system in response to pressure from an outside world, which was already dominated by capitalism, political rivalry with the nobles and class struggle from below in the form of people avoiding forced labour.

This revolution involved destroying the economic and political power of Chulalongkorn’s Sakdina rivals, the Moon Nai, nobles and local Jao Hua Muang. Politically this was done by appointing a civil service bureaucracy to rule outer regions and economically, by abolishing their power to control forced labour and hence surplus value. Forced labour was abolished.

The Absolute Monarchy of Rama V was a thoroughly modern centralised institution, created in order to serve the interests of the ruler of Bangkok in an emerging capitalist “Thai” nation. It is this modern form of capitalist monarchy which was overthrown only sixty years later in 1932. The further transformation of the monarchy into a Constitutional Monarchy, as a result of the 1932, revolution was a contested area. Radicals wanted a republic, moderates wanted a Western-style Constitutional Monarchy and the ultra-conservative among the military wanted to create a false image of a god-like and powerful monarchy which they could manipulate for their own purposes. The ultra-conservatives were the ultimate victors with the help of the royalist old guard who had now given up any hope of restoring the Absolute Monarchy.

With Wachiralongkorn on the throne the importance of the monarchy will be reduced as he is not fit for purpose. [See http://bit.ly/2l63Z1I]

The monarchy today is a mere puppet of the military with a falsely created image of “power”. But “power” is always concrete and political power cannot be separated from the power to determine state policies on social and economic issues or international relations. Today that concrete power lies with the military. [See http://bit.ly/2AF9ozT   ]

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.


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).


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.



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.