On class and political struggle

16 10 2010

Readers might remember a bit of a kerfuffle around the time of the red shirt demonstrations in March-May over “class warfare” in Thailand. Former leftist and now Democrat Party deputy leader, Kraisak Choonhavan, famously argued against the red shirts having anything to do with class. Writing in May, he was ticked off that the “international media has largely portrayed the protracted protests in Bangkok this past month as a class struggle between rich urban elites and a poor, neglected rural mass.” That perspective was taken up by several in government.

However, it is interesting that government actions betray a view that corruption (double standards?), inequality and difficult rural conditions play a major role in political mobilization. Most recently, The Nation has this conclusion by a government investigation: “In its report, the working group led by PM’s Office Minister Satit Wongnongtaey concluded that the government should focus on solving social and economic inequality, corruption and shortage of land for agricultural and residential purposes, in addition to unfair income levels and high cost of living of poorer people.”



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16 10 2010
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