Updated: The government’s political strategy is repression

2 10 2010

Ambika Ahuja at Reuters has a pointed story on the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s repression strategy: “From high-profile arrests to the shutting down and censoring of thousands of websites, the measures used by authorities to keep a lid on simmering tensions are threatening to worsen the [political] conflict, alienate rivals and discredit the administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.”

PPT, of course, has long thought the Abhisit regime discredited. Indeed, PPT was established precisely because, almost from the day it came to power through the multiple interventions of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, palace, judiciary and the military brass, this regime has been censorious and repressive. What is now seen as a slide into political repression and authoritarianism was evident from the government’s genesis and the forces behind it. That is why we are not surprised that, “Months after the Thai army forced an end to weeks of anti-government protests, the government says widespread restrictions on dissent are still essential for peace.”

Interestingly, now even the business risk analysts are seeing that the governments repression strategy is fraught with problems. Jacob Ramsay, senior Southeast Asia analyst at Control Risks, a strategic consulting firm based in Britain observes: “Thailand is in uncharted territory and the government’s response to dissent could lead to a bolder display of resistance…” . He adds: “Once authorities start to react to that it has no choice but to do so with more force. It’s a vicious cycle.” Exactly PPT’s point in January 2009.

The Reuters report sees that the government’s “tough line on dissent is also a public relations gamble for Abhisit, the seemingly progressive Oxford-educated premier…”. The point here is “seemingly.” What is too often forgotten is that Oxford is a bastion of conservatism and has probably spawned more right-wing extremists than “progressives” and “liberals.”

The article seems to think that Abhisit may be a good lad at the mercy of the military and royalist hard liners. PPT has argued for some time that this is nonsense: Abhisit is in the vanguard of the oppressors and authoritarian forces in Thailand. His record of supporting right-wing royalists is as clear as can be. Abhisit revels in being at the head of a repressive and increasingly authoritarian regime and bears responsibility for political oppression, massive censorship, political violence by state officials and for the hundreds of political prisoners in the state’s dungeons.

Footnote: This post provides an excellent opportunity to link to an earlier story that (surprisingly) appeared in the Bangkok Post that begins: “After more than a year under the administration of Abhisit Vejjajiva and the six-party coalition, I think I can safely conclude that the prime minister has rightfully earned the auspicious and thoroughly deserved title ‘the amataya’s messiah’.” Well worth a read.

Update: As if to make PPT’s point in this post, The Nation reports that Abhisit has recommended that “the emergency decree will likely be further extended for Bangkok and neighbouring provinces at the next Cabinet meeting…” probably until December. It seems Abhisit reckons intelligence sources are right to worry about “violent incidents and unrest involving places with political significance” and to want “maximum security at the residences of VIPs in politics, military and judiciary…”. This causes PPT to wonder about small bombs in places that seem political irrelevant. We do not need to wonder about Abhisit’s desire to control Bangkok politics for a long period.


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2 10 2010
Tweets that mention The government’s political strategy is repression « Political Prisoners in Thailand -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NEWSpace, อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร. อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร said: The government’s political strategy is repression: Ambika Ahuja at Reuters has a pointed story on the Abhisit Vejj… http://bit.ly/bKY3Ya […]

3 10 2010
More on normalization under Abhisit’s royalist regime « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] under Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s protectorate of royalist rule. More seriously, we noted separately that this regime’s only political strategy is […]

3 10 2010
Kasit on Burma « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] PPT thinks that economic relations are probably important, however, at the same time, it seems that the Abhisit regime is bent on building a coalition of political support amongst its authoritarian neighbors in Laos, Burma and Vietnam. Relations with Cambodia remain strained, however. Building non-Western support is important for Abhisit’s regime as it adopts increasingly authoritarian political strategies. […]