Tag Archives: social movements

Repression, Nationalism, Racism & anti-women: Thailand’s Parliamentary Dictatorship

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

It is difficult to spot the difference between one year ago under the rule of the military junta, and today under the rule of the military Parliamentary Dictatorship. In fact the only difference is that after the fixed elections earlier this year, the junta is using parliament as a fig-leaf for the continued dictatorship.

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Following the brilliant ant-junta protests a week ago, the police have filed charges against the organisers of the peaceful and legitimate protests in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. This is yet another example of the continued repression against the right to protest. It is hoped that any prosecutions will be met with an escalation of action on the streets.

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To prove who is really in charge, the Ministry of Defence has come out and condemned these pro-democracy protests. This again highlights the militarisation of Thai society and politics which has been going on since the 2014 coup.

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Added to this is the ridiculous accusations of lèse majesté by ultra-conservatives against people posting pictures of the protests with posters of the dead king in the background. These anti-democratic dinosaurs wish to make previous monarchs into holy relics. Yet, the individual most responsible for bringing the institution of the monarchy into disrepute, in the eyes of Thai citizens, is the present king Wachiralongkorn.

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This is due to his debauched life-style in Germany, his insulting behaviour towards women and his never-ending greed. This is why the Thai ruling class need to keep putting up posters of his dead father in their desperate attempt to prop up royalism.

The junta is trying to stir up racism and nationalism to deflect attention away from the lack of democracy and the deteriorating standard of living for most Thais. The Parliamentary Junta’s aristocratic Minister of Labour has been mouthing off about the need to arrest so-called illegal migrants who he accuses of “stealing jobs from Thais”. This is an age-old process of racist scape-goating. It is never true. Migrant workers fill low income and dirty-job niches vacated by locals. The Thai economy would be in a serious state without migrant workers.

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Rescuers carry body of civilian killed by military rangers

In Patani, the hated military rangers have murdered three innocent civilians in the province of Naratiwat. The rangers planted weapons and ammunition around the corpses and tried unsuccessfully to claim that those killed were insurgents. Eventually the military were forced to admit this and issued an “apology”. But that is not good enough. The rangers are hated and feared by local Malay Muslims for their trigger-happy and racist behaviour. The situation is made worse by having a military national government and by the deep racism and nationalism supported by the Thai ruling class. Peace can only be achieved if the military are forced to withdraw from Patani and national politics and citizens are able to exercise self-determination.

Thailand is one of the most unequal societies in the world. This is due to the monopoly of power by the conservative elites. Yet the present military government has defined women’s sanitary towels as “luxury” items for tax purposes. Women’s sanitary products are more expensive in relation to Thai incomes than in Western societies. This injustice has quite rightly caused a storm of indignation on social media. Sanitary products for women should be supplied free of charge as a necessary service to all women. They are not things that women can choose to buy or not to buy.

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As we turn the corner to 2020, it is to be hoped that the level of protests against the Parliamentary Junta will increase and the military will be forced out of politics. For that to happen it will take organisation.

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A long time coming

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Saturday’s brilliant demonstration around the “Sky Walk” at Patumwan junction in Bangkok marked what could be a new beginning for the Thai democracy movement. Over three thousand people assembled to protests against Thai dictator Generalissimo Prayut Chan-Ocha, who heads a parliamentary dictatorship. Another modest protest took place in the northern city of Chiang Mai. These protests are the first protests to occur since the election.

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Prayut staged a military coup against the elected government of Yingluk Shinawat in 2014. A military junta then ruled Thailand until so-called elections were eventually held in early 2019. These elections were highly flawed, with military appointees in the Election Commission, Constitutional Court and the unelected Senate, ensuring that the unelected General Prayut became Prime Minister, despite the fact that his party won less votes and parliamentary seats than the opposition.

Before the election, the Constitutional Court dissolved one opposition party under the excuse that it had put forward a member of the royal family as its candidate for Prime Minister.

After the election, the military appointed courts disqualified Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward Party, from being a member of parliament. The excuse was an unsubstantiated accusation that he owned shares in a media company. Thanathorn denied this and explained that he had got rid of the shares before the election.

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Now the parliamentary dictatorship is trying to disband the entire Future Forward Party under the ridiculous excuse that the party borrowed funds from Thanathorn. Most legal experts are of the opinion that this does not break the law.

This latest threat to the most assertive anti-military party in parliament was the last straw for Thanathorn. He made a public call for what he called a “flash mob” to come together on Saturday 14th December. He then addressed thousands of protesters, who were chanting anti-dictatorship slogans, saying that future protests would be called.

Previously the Future Forward Party leadership had been very cautious, sticking to the political rules for the election which were drafted by the junta. They specifically rejected any campaign against the draconian lèse majesté law which has been used to imprison those critical of the military and the monarchy. This law, together with the “Computer Crimes Law” is the junta’s weapon against free speech. Recently the junta have been using the “Computer Crimes Law” instead of the lèse majesté law in an attempt to improve its image. However, the result is the same: a denial of free speech.

The Thai monarchy has long been used as a political tool by the military. The military always claims to be protecting the monarchy like a holy deity. Any criticism of the military is deemed to be also against the monarchy. The monarchy has little power in itself, and this is even more the case with the new king, who cares little about politics and society and chooses to live a debauched life in Germany.

The “Future Forward Party” has a clear policy of reducing the power and influence of the military by scrapping the military constitution and other junta inspired laws. It is also opposed to conscription. It has been busy pushing its “new look” and claim to be the party of the new generation. However, it is a party aimed at sections of the pro-democracy middle classes. It prioritises the free-market and business interests while also claiming to support the poor in an abstract manner. Its leader, tycoon Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, stated that it aims to “protect capitalism for the benefit of the majority”. In the past he emphasised that business must make a profit before benefits for workers can be improved. It is in favour of devolving power to the provinces and has made progressive sounds about self-determination in Muslim-Malay dominated Patani.

The other main opposition party in parliament is the Taksin Shinawat controlled Pua Thai Party. It has a long pedigree of being supported by the rural poor and urban workers. But it is a party of big business. Taksin’s first party, Thai Rak Thai, brought in the first ever universal health care scheme and other pro-poor policies. Four Taksin-dominated elected governments were overthrown, either by the military or the pro-military judiciary in a number of coups beginning in 2006. These coups helped to create the political crisis and the sharp divisions in Thai society which remain today. The military and the conservative elites and middle classes hated the Taksin governments because they started to redistribute wealth to workers and farmers in order to build a modernised society which would benefit big business. They resented the fact that the majority of citizens supported these parties in elections and they have been continuously trying to use various undemocratic methods to make sure that the conservatives can hold power after elections.

A decade ago, supporters of Taksin Shinawat and his political allies built a huge pro-democracy mass movement called the Red Shirts. The military responded by shooting down unarmed protesters in the streets. Yet this did not destroy the movement. However, by 2014 Taksin and his political allies had successfully demobilised the Red Shirts, hoping to do a deal with the conservatives.

Since then, many people have turned their backs on the idea of building mass social movements, claiming that it cannot be done and would result in a blood-bath. The recent protest called by Thanathorn disproves this.

Until recently the Future Forward Party had rejected the idea of building a mass movement on the streets. Yet, Thai and international History shows us that mass social movements are vital to bringing down dictatorships.

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The change of heart in the Future Forward Party and the call for more protests against the parliamentary dictatorship is to be welcomed. But pro-democracy activists cannot just rely on people like Thanathorn to build the necessary movement to overthrow the military. Independent activists, not allied to main stream political parties, especially those among the trade unions and among students, need to step forward and help build the movement.

Parliamentary manoeuvres cannot bring about democracy

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

All the opposition politicians and pro-democracy academics are united in the belief that the military constitution needs to be amended or scrapped in order for Thailand to have a fully functioning democracy. They are absolutely right about this. But what is totally lacking is a realistic strategy of how to achieve this.

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It is worth recapping why the present constitution is so bad.

The military constitution was drawn up by gangsters in uniform, who murdered pro-democracy demonstrators and used violence to stage military coups and pervert the democratic process. It was “approved” in a referendum where people campaigning to oppose the constitution were arrested.

The general tone of the constitution is patronising and banal, with constant references to the monarchy. It talks about the “duties of citizens to be loyal to King and Country and to maintain discipline”. Duty and discipline take priority over the rights of citizens. There are pages of rubbish about the qualities of “good” political leaders and naturally they must be loyal to “Nation, Religion and King”. It is also a neo-liberal constitution, like all the various constitutions since the 1996 economic crisis. So it talks of public health being organised according to a “fair” market economy, the need to maintain “fiscal discipline” and the importance of following the previous king’s reactionary “Sufficiency Economy” ideology. Free State education is not guaranteed up to the end of secondary school. As usual, this is all aimed against redistribution of wealth and state spending which benefits the poor. Naturally, military and Palace spending are not a threat to fiscal discipline. The army has just started a spending spree on US armoured vehicles and other weapons which may be used against the civilian population.

The constitution outlaws what the reactionaries like to call “populist policies”. This is aimed directly at Taksin-style measures which were hugely popular among the electorate. Such policies need to be outlawed by “wise men” because the majority of the population are “too stupid” to know what is good for them.

People like Taksin and some other Pua Thai politicians are barred from office for “legal” reasons, much like the gerrymandered electoral system in Singapore or Burma which bars opposition politicians for dubious legal reasons. However, state murderers like Generalissimo Prayut and Abhisit Vejjajiva, are not be banned from office. The constitution white-washes all the crimes of the present junta.

The Prime Minister need not be an elected MP, if supported by 2/3 of parliament. This is why unelected Prayut is still Prime Minister with votes from the senators whom he appointed.

The all-powerful senate has been appointed by the military and the elites. The senate has extensive powers to appoint the Electoral Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Constitutional Judges. In the past these bodies exercised power over the democratically elected Yingluk government and paved the way for a military coup. The senate will also appoint the useless Human Rights Commission, no doubt ensuring that there are plenty of military and police officers on board. However, parliament will have reduced powers. The senate can also veto government policy.

The National Strategy Committee is in effect a “Super Junta”, with powers to veto any decisions made by an elected government and to take power at any time via a “legalised coup”, if and when it deems fit. Naturally the Super Junta is dominated by the military top brass. This Super Junta is enshrined in stone for 5 years, but its length of duty can be extended at will.

The constitution can never be amended to make Thailand into a republic or to allow self-determination in Patani. Any other amendments which have been sanctioned by a parliamentary vote, must be approved by the Senate and the Constitutional Court.

It is therefore obvious that any changes to the constitution or any attempts to scrap it altogether and draw up a new one, cannot be achieved by working within the rules or using parliamentary manoeuvres. Yet none of the opposition politicians and pro-democracy academics are engaged in building a new pro-democracy social movement outside parliament.

Thailand needs a movement like in Hong Kong

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Thailand desperately needs an anti-dictatorship mass social movement like in Hong Kong. When I say “like Hong Kong” I don’t mean that it should be a carbon copy of the Hong Kong movement, but it needs to be a real mass movement aiming to clear away the Prayut parliamentary dictatorship and the legacy of military rule, including the military constitution and all the institutions set up by the junta.

It is now 3 months after the so-called elections and no new government has been set up. But this means very little since the junta are still in charge with Prayut as Prime Minister.

It does not take a genius to see that there is no freedom, democracy or justice in Thailand. Those who cannot see this, chose not to see it because they favour authoritarian rule.

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The recent brutal attack on the pro-democracy activist Sirawit Seritiwat or “Ja New” and the continuing operations of military death squads in neighbouring countries, is one horrific aspect of the state of Thai politics. The fact that Generalissimo Prayut can come out and say recently that he doesn’t want to be forced to stage another coup, is another.

But what is lacking from many pro-democracy activists and politicians is a clear idea of how to bring down the junta. It is long past the time when people can still believe that the elections could change things. We all know that the constitution needs to be amended and the military reformed. But the question is how?

It is a pure pipe-dream to think that this can be done through a parliament which is a result of rigged elections. It shows a lack of responsibility to just say that the constitution or various junta laws need to be amended and scrapped and that the election laws need to be changed without saying how this can be done.

The “Long Coup” from 2006 to the present day, when elected governments were overthrown by the military and the judiciary, with the help of royalist protestors and much of the NGO movement, did not finish when Prayut held false elections earlier this year. We are now in a process of “parliamentary dictatorship”, planned and implemented by the junta. What is important to remember is that this long destruction of democracy was never carried out using an elected parliament, or by respecting the law and the constitution. It was carried out using the brute force of the military in tandem with mass mobilisations of reactionary, anti-democratic, social movements.

For this reason it should be clear that the opposition MPs in the present parliament cannot hope to make any significant changes. The illegitimate rules of the junta cannot be used to get rid of the illegitimate junta.

It is high time for a serious discussion about building a real pro-democracy social movement. Such a mass movement needs to be better than the red shirts that came before. It needs to be independent of establishment parties that seek to control and limit the struggle and it needs to be linked to youth and labour.

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Hong Kong protest movement

It takes real people, meeting face to face, in order to build the networks necessary to construct this movement. The question is: are there enough activists on the ground to achieve this?

 

Further reading:  https://bit.ly/2RTlleU

Anti-Military Parties Should Not Do Dirty Deals with The Democrats and They Cannot Rely on the Courts

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

It is now clear that during the ridiculous 6 week delay in declaring the Thai election results, the Electoral Commission has managed to find a fraudulent formula to keep the junta in power. The pathetic excuse for this delay was the coronation of the odious Wachiralongkorn.

A few days after the March election it became obvious that anti-military parties like Pua Thai and Future Forward Party, along with their smaller party allies, had won both the popular vote and a majority of constituency seats. [See https://bit.ly/307AgpF ].

The result showed clearly that a majority of Thai citizens had voted against the military.

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Yet, now, the Electoral Commission has changed the dubious formula for calculating the number of “Party List” MPs for each party. Not surprisingly, the Future Forward Party has lost a number of Party List seats which it originally had. These seats have now been given to tiny unknown parties which never declared their policies towards democracy and the military. Some obtained less than 40 thousand national votes.

Hey presto!! The result is that the overall majority that the anti-military parties originally obtained in parliament has suddenly evaporated!

The small parties that gained single party list seats are not well known to most people and they were obviously ripe to be bought by the junta in order to shore up its bid to form a government. They now say that they will support Prayut’s junta.

In addition to this, key members of the Future Forward Party are facing trumped-up charges in order to try to have them disqualified.

And, as we know, the junta has appointed 250 of its own people to the senate in order to guarantee support for the military remaining in power.

Fraudulent tricks in order to claim “democratic legitimacy” have been used in other countries like Egypt and Burma. No one should be fooled by such manoeuvres.

Dirty deals with the Democrat Party and Poom Jai Thai Party

It is shocking that the so-called pro-democracy parties, especially the Future Forward Party, are considering a dirty deal with the Democrat Party and Poom Jai Thai Party in a pathetic attempt to try to stop Prayut from returning as Prime Minister.

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Such a deal with the likes of Abhisit, who murdered Red Shirt pro-democracy activists when he was last Prime Minister in a military backed government, is an insult to all those who have fought for democracy. It is also doomed to fail in terms of restoring democracy and ending the legacy of the military junta, which the Future Forward Party claimed as key policies during the election campaign. Both the Democrat Party and Poom Jai Thai Party have a history of working with military regimes.

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It represents an imbecilic obsession with dirty parliamentary politics at the expense of citizen participation. Elected politicians do deals while citizens merely sit and watch. Is this the so-called “New Future” that the Future Forward Party has been talking about? It looks much more like old-style corrupt politics.

Another example of an imbecilic obsession with parliamentary politics is the fact that Pua Thai and Future Forward Parties have threaten legal action in the courts against the Electoral Commission. But Thai courts are tools of the military junta and the conservative anti-democrats. We saw this when the courts were used to stage at least two judicial coups against elected governments in the past. The courts also selectively punished politicians like Yingluck on dubious charges while ignoring the crimes of corrupt military coupsters. The courts also struck down a proposal for a high speed rail project claiming that it would be better to improve fictitious unpaved roads in rural areas.

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Not only will relying on the courts to stop the junta’s election fraud be unsuccessful, but it will tie up politicians in long lawsuits while the junta carry on ruling the country. It amounts to a capitulation to the junta.

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The Mass Movement is the Key

Instead of these hopeless manoeuvres, the political leaders of the anti-military parties should organise their millions of supporters to attend pro-democracy rallies. This would help build a pro-democracy social movement and put pressure on the military. The lessons from many countries around the world is that democratic rights cannot be won without mass struggle.

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If the political leaders of Pua Thai and Future Forward Parties are unwilling to organise their voters into a movement, ordinary activists will have to step in and gradually build such a movement themselves.

Further reading:

Flawed Thai elections   https://bit.ly/2RIIvrD

The Thai Junta’s Road Map to “Guided Democracy” https://bit.ly/2QMrGf9

Thai Politics after the 2019 Election https://bit.ly/2UsA30a

Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

After the Thai junta’s recent flawed elections, there are voices of pessimism being raised about the prospects of democracy in the country. Many raise the monarchy as a reason to explain why the pro-democracy side are “always” unsuccessful.

But they ignore the evidence about how little power is actually in the hands of King Wachiralongkorn and more importantly, they ignore Thai history.

Wachiralongkorn is a play-boy puppet of the military junta, who spends almost all of his time living in Germany. He has never expressed a view about politics and society. When he quoted his father, just before the election, to say that people should vote for “good” people, if it was supposed to encourage citizens to vote for the junta party, it did not work. A majority of people voted for anti-military parties and the proportion voting for pro-junta parties corresponded to the number of votes cast by middle-class yellow shirts in the 2011 election. [See https://bit.ly/2EOjsNL ].

The democratic space in Thailand, and in any other society, is never a fixed item. It expands and contracts in accordance with the level of struggle and public opinion. The democratic space in Thailand was expanded after the victories of mass social movements against the military in 1973 and 1992. Even in 2010, when the red shirts were gunned down in cold blood, the actions of the movement forced an election one year later, which Yingluk’s Pua Thai Party won in a landslide victory.

It is interesting to note that in 1991, King Pumipon came out and praised junta head Suchinda. One year later, a mass movement toppled Suchinda from power. So much for the influence of the monarchy!

Often, the voices of pessimism reflect mood swings, from wildly optimistic hopes that the junta and its legacy could be destroyed merely by putting a cross against pro-democracy parties on the ballot paper, and the realisation that this will not be nearly enough.

As I have written before, this is understandable and deep down people knew in their heart of hearts that a long struggle would be necessary to achieve democracy. People were just desperate to believe in an easier route.

But activists need to do better than this. They need to think about Antonio Gramsci’s motto on looking at politics. Gramsci proposed that we should have “pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will”.

In terms of current Thai politics this means that we should realise the real obstacles to building democracy. In a nutshell we are faced with a “Guided Democracy” system crafted by the military, which has created a 20 year National Strategy, a military appointed senate and judiciary, and a warped electoral process which favours the junta. The junta is also still using repression against activists.

We also need to realise that in the real world, the only power that can destroy the military’s hold on politics is a mass social movement aimed at expanding the democratic space. We need to see that such a movement, in the shape of the red shirts, was put into cold storage and destroyed by Taksin and his allies, in the mistaken hope that a grubby deal could be reached with the military. Finally, we need to take a hard look at the weak state of the pro-democracy movement since Prayut’s military coup in 2014. It has been fragmented and has concentrated on symbolic gestures by a small number of young activists.

This is the “pessimism of the intellect”.

But the “optimism of the will” means that after studying the reality of the Thai history of struggle, we can realise that a mass social movement can gradually be built and such movements have beaten the military in the past. But to be successful, lessons also need to be learnt from past mistakes such as allowing people like Taksin to have too much influence over the movement, failing to build the movement among students, young people and trade unions, and relying on static prolonged street encampments rather than individual days of protests and strikes.

The junta can be beaten, but only by building a mass movement guided by ideas grounded in reality which are a result of vigorous and democratic discussions within the movement.

[Further reading: Thai Politics after the 2019 Election https://bit.ly/2UsA30a ].

Thai junta party’s lack of democratic legitimacy vital for building a mass pro-democracy social movement

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

In my previous post I wrote that: “Both in terms of the popular votes for and against the junta and the estimates of seats, Prayut has no legitimate democratic claim to form a government. But that may not stop him from muscling his way into government. He has already claimed the right to form a government because his party won most votes, ignoring the higher combined votes against the junta. Even if he does not install himself as Prime Minister, the military will still use every means possible stop a civilian government from functioning normally”.

The obvious conclusion from any study of the ebb and flow of class struggle in Thailand since 1932, is that progressive steps to increase the democratic space and to reduce inequality have always taken place in the context of previous victories or pressure from mass social movements. This is the kind of idea put forward by Rosa Luxemburg a century ago in her important pamphlet on “Reform or Revolution”.

An example of the importance of social movements is the consequences of the 1992 uprising against the military and the events after that. In 1991 the military staged a coup against an elected government which it feared would reduce its role in society. Resistance to the coup took a year to gather momentum, but in May 1992 a mass uprising in Bangkok braved deadly gunfire from the army and overthrew the junta. A key issue was that the junta head had appointed himself as Prime Minister after the 1992 elections. Many activists in this uprising had previously cut their teeth in the struggles of the 1970s.

Four years after this uprising, Thailand experienced a deep economic crisis. Activists pushed for a new, more democratic constitution, in the hope that the country could escape from the cycle of corruption, human rights abuses and military coups. There was also an increase in workers’ struggles and one factory was set alight by workers who had had their wages slashed as a result of the crisis. The new democratic constitution was only possible because of the victorious uprising against the military.

In the general election of January 2001, Taksin Shinawat’s Thai Rak Thai Party (TRT) won a landslide victory. The election victory was in response to previous government policy under the Democrats, which had totally ignored the plight of the rural and urban poor during the crisis. TRT also made 3 important promises to the electorate. These were (1) a promise to introduce a Universal Health Care Scheme for all citizens, (2) a promise to provide a 1 million baht job creation loan to each village in order to stimulate economic activity and (3) a promise to introduce a debt moratorium for farmers. The policies of TRT arose from a number of factors such as the victory against the military in 1992 and the climate for reform, the 1997 economic crisis and its effects upon ordinary people and finally the influence of some ex-student activists from the 1970s within the party. The government delivered on all their promises which resulted in mass support for the party.

Eventually, there was a backlash from the conservative sections of the ruling class and most of the middle-classes. It is this conservative backlash that re-established the era of military rule with the coup in September in 2006. But the military were not confident enough to avoid holding elections one year later. However, they did manage to rewrite a more authoritarian version of the constitution beforehand. Taksin’s party won a majority in this election, but the government was overthrown by the conservative and military-backed judiciary. The military then installed a Democrat Party government. This military-backed authoritarian government was opposed by the Red Shirt movement, which became the largest pro-democracy social movement in Thai history. The Red Shirts were primarily a movement of small farmers and urban workers. [See: “The Role of Thai Social Movements in Democratisation” https://bit.ly/2aDzest ]

The military and the Democrat government responded to the rise of the Red Shirts with lethal violence against unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators. Yet, pressure from the Red Shirts meant that elections were held in 2011 and Taksin’s Pua Thai Party won a landslide victory in these elections. Yingluk became Prime Minister. But her government was weak and operated under threats from the military and the conservative middle-classes, which eventually wrecked the 2014 elections. An important weakness of the Yingluk government was the fact that she refused to call on the Red Shirt movement to protect her government. Instead, Taksin and Yingluk preferred to make compromises with the military and the conservatives, which merely encouraged anti-democratic forces.

Despite the fact that the Red Shirt movement was a grass-roots social movement with many elements of self-activity, political leadership remained with Taksin and his allies. More progressive voices were too small to develop an independent leadership. This meant that Taksin was able to de-mobilise the movement after the election of the Yingluk government. This opened the door to the Prayut coup of 2014.

What all this means for the present situation in Thailand, after the 2019 election, is that only the pressure from a mass social movement can prevent the military from stealing the election or, in the event of a new government led by the Pua Thai or Future Forward parties, such a movement will be vital to ensure that the government can move forward to dismantle the legacy of the dictatorship. Already, the leadership of the Future Forward Party are facing lawsuits initiated by the military in order to weaken the opposition to the dictatorship. Parliamentary politics on its own cannot achieve this. If no movement is built, the legacy of the dictatorship will be extended far into the future.

It will take time a much discussion in order to build a new pro-democracy social movement because the leaders of the main anti-junta parties have not shown an interest in this. But a new movement can be built if people learn the lessons from the past.

[For a full analysis of the 2019 election, read “Thai Politics after the 2019 Election“]