Class war and the red shirts

14 04 2009

In recent posts PPT has mentioned reports that allude to a class basis to the current political crisis in Thailand. We recall that the 200 was often portrayed as a clash of elites. That clash has had deep impacts.

Marwaan Macan-Markar at IPS (13 April 2009: “Thailand Marks New Year with Bullets, Troops Clash with Protesters”) provides some insights on this perspective.

He writes that the “government’s effort to take back the streets and enforce emergency laws in Bangkok and five neighbouring provinces appeared to have provoked more anger among the ‘red shirts’. They gathered in the hundreds, chanting pro- democracy slogans, openly defying the emergency law, which bans gatherings of more than five people.”

Macan-Marker continues: “The rage of this anti-government movement – which draws support from this kingdom’s urban and rural poor – is matched by the defiant rhetoric of the UDD’s leaders. The latter are describing the rising ‘red tide’ threatening to push Thailand to the brink as a ‘revolution on behalf of the poor’.”

Jakrapob Penkair, accusedof lesè majesté and a leader of the UDD is reported: “This is not a civil war, a war among equals, with each bearing arms, not knowing who is going to win. This is a war of the have-nots.” The UDD claims support in more than 30 provinces.

Another UDD leader, former member of the national human rights commission Jaran Ditapichai, is quoted as claiming that, “The people want a revolution,” adding, “This is the idea of the mass of the people.’



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