Which plot?

8 07 2012

PPT seldom cites anything much from Voranai Vanijaka at the Bangkok Post. This Sunday’s column, though, deserves some attention. It begins with this:

If you ever get into a haggling match with somebody, you should accuse that person of plotting to overthrow the monarchy. Street vendor try to pull one over on you? That’s a plot to overthrow the monarchy. A police officer tries to write you a ticket? Plot to overthrow the monarchy. Girl won’t give you her phone number? A plot to overthrow the monarchy. This is the surest way to get things to go your way….

That may seem true, but it is only relatively recently that the charge has had political traction. Yes, there was a time when the palace was in decline after 1932, and then there was a palace fear that the communists would consign the monarchy to history’s dumpster,  but not much in the way of an anti-monarchy plot ever surfaced. For an example of one alleged plot that came to nothing, see LM_5 Feb 1993.

Oddly enough the frantic claims of “plot” emerged soon after the moment when the monarchy was at its seeming strongest. That the meddling lot in the palace then screwed things up for themselves by very real plotting and implementing a coup with their military acolytes is well known.

Suddenly, with the recognition that the king in his dotage and the future looking bleak under Rama X, the ruling class is using the “plot” to gain time in their struggle to find a means to maintain their control when the monarchy’s symbolism collapses.

Voranai continues:

On June 1, the Constitution Court ordered parliament to suspend the third reading of the reconciliation legislation [it was actually a bill on how charter change should proceed] after accepting petitions arguing the charter amendment bill may constitute an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

And he adds, appropriately enough:

But in the two-day hearings last week, no one came close to proving any plot to overthrow the monarchy. Why? Because there’s no such plot.

Of course there isn’t. Later Voranai explains that:

This then brings us back to the pending decision by the Constitutional Court. The wrangling over what the law says matters little. It’s for show. Written words in the constitution can be twisted, misinterpreted and distorted any which way we like.

That’s not quite accurate, for the Constitutional Court essentially only decides cases in favor of the royalist elite. That bunch of corrupt judges do as they are told. So there is no “we” involved; the court decides for the ruling class.

Voranai adds that there’s no plot against the monarchy, just a plot “to return Thaksin Shinawatra to power in Thailand and get back his confiscated wealth.” That’s not quite accurate either. Yes, there is a stated intention on the part of the current government to bring Thaksin back. It even ran an election that promises to do just this, and they won handsomely. So that doesn’t constitute a plot in the same sense as plotting the 2006 coup.

Is there a plot to give Thaksin his loot back? We don’t know. We are sure that he’d like it back.

In the end, the real plotters seem to be royalists, their capitalist backers and the military. But that’s how it’s been for a long time. And they are the ones who are desperate to protect their economic privilege and political power by means that don’t include winning elections.



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17 07 2012

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