Red shirts, monarchy and the change that is coming

19 11 2010

Nirmal Ghosh has a useful article in the Straits Times based on interviews with two red shirt leaders who are in hiding. He says the “interviews took place on condition of anonymity, and on condition that the locations were not disclosed.”

Importantly, Ghosh also notes that these leaders “did not represent the whole movement, which as observers know has a wide range of agendas. Leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) have always had differing agendas.” He also notes that “… Veera Musigapong … split from the rest of the leadership” even before the final moments of the May crackdown. Is that why he was the only one granted bail?

Military repression means leaders are in hiding and cannot meet regularly, meaning that “the evolution of a new strategy” is also hampered.

The leaders who met with Ghosh “acknowledged that there was a growing anti-monarchy vein in the red shirts – and made the extraordinary claim that as much as 90 per cent of the movement’s followers were now against the monarchy.” PPT doesn’t know if this estimate is accurate, but we do know that there has been a huge spike in anti-monarchy views and sentiment. Nothing like this has been seen for decades.

One of the leaders states that Army chief general Prayuth Chan-ocha “is not overreacting” in his frenzied series of plans, warnings and attacks on perceived anti-monarchists. Here, PPT disagrees. Each time Prayuth speaks and acts, we think he builds republicanism. Essentially, though, his task is protecting more than the monarchy; his task is to protect the royalist ruling class. Making lese majeste and royalism the overt political symbols of opposition to red shirts, Thaksin Shinawatra, representative democracy and other opposition means that the political battle lines are remarkably clear.

The leaders are also right to discount the prospects of an imminent “revolution” against the “monied aristocracy that the red shirts have attacked.” Both agreed that “[s]eizing power was not on the cards or indeed possible…”. One of the interviewed leaders stated: “We should encourage democratic activism to run its course. Change is coming anyway…”.



One response

19 11 2010
Tweets that mention Red shirts, monarchy and the change that is coming | Political Prisoners in Thailand --

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Free Da Torpedo and อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร, NEWSpace. NEWSpace said: Red shirts, monarchy and the change that is coming: Nirmal Ghosh has a useful article in the Straits Times based… […]

%d bloggers like this: