Remembering the People’s Party and their intentions

29 06 2010

See the Bangkok Post’s excellent article on the relatives of People’s Party/Khana ratsadon on democracy.

Some bits of it, but do read the whole thing: “it is significant that since 1957 the governments made possible by the 1932 revolution have not officially recognised June 24 as a landmark in the development of Thai democracy. It was recognised as a national day until the 1957 coup by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, which wished to erase the collective memory of the contributions of Khana Rasadorn, along with the legacy of Field Marshal Plaek Phibulsonggram, or Phibun, who was the last member of Khana Rasadorn active in Thai politics.” And the current king got the “father” required for restoring the monarchy.

Puangkeo Satraprung, a child of Phraya Phahon Pholpayuhasena, the leader of Khana Rasadorn: “The forefathers of Thai democracy greatly sacrificed not only their own lives, but also the future of their clans. If they had not succeeded, their descendants would also have been executed jed chua kote [down to the seventh tier]…”. Absolutely, and it would have been the monarch now falsely hailed as the father of democracy who would have had them all hung out on stakes.

She added that “one of the disturbing illusions regarding Khana Rasadorn was the notion that the June 24 coup was a pre-emptive move to seize power. She was referring to attempts in recent decades to show that King Prachadhipok was already leaning toward a democratic mindset and Khana Rasadorn made their move before he could benevolently hand democracy over to the people.” She says: “’I do not agree with the ching-suk-gon-ham [premature seizure] discourse. The histories of other countries tell us that unless you fight for democracy, you will not get it. This political discourse that has been taught and repeated for decades is the first distortion of the 1932 event that needs to be rectified…”. Mrs Puangkeo is totally correct.

Suthachai Yimprasert, an assistant professor of history at Chulalongkorn University, added that “June 24, 1932, was the start of an incomplete mission to establish the civil and political rights of the people through representative democracy…. We need to understand that Khana Rasadorn’s efforts to establish democracy were interrupted and finally deformed by pro-royalists military leaders…”. Suthachai mentioned Sarit, Phin Choonhavan, Thanom Kittikachorn and Prapas Charusatien.

Worachet Pakeerut, a law professor at Thammasat University, said that “the 1957 coup by Sarit, who reinstalled the royal power in the legal and political structure” had led “to the present problems…”. He said that “those who point out the intention of Khana Rasadorn to draw a clear constitutional line for the role of the monarchy are accused of lese majeste.” Unfortunately, the Khana ratsadon mission was “incomplete.”

Mrs Puangkeo remains optimistic. ‘”There’s a tiny flickering light at the end of the tunnel. There’s hope that the country will gradually evolve if we learn from the past.’”

There’s a lot more in the article.



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