The elite hates electoral democracy

13 07 2014

Pichai Chuensuksawadi is Editor-in-Chief of Post Publishing. He’s also a propagandist for the elite and its politics. Back when the 2011 election campaign was on, we mentioned his strong support for the Democrat Party, acting as a royalist mouthpiece. He works for a news organization that is deeply royalist and a part of its networks.

He has always been a reliable propagandist for the royalists, posing as one of those so-called liberal royalists, who are, in fact, never very liberal when the elite’s political or economic dominance is threatened.

Now, in his editorial position in the Post, he has becomes a mouthpiece for the elite’s political desires for the future. Not surprisingly, it is a rejection of democracy and a plea for Premocracy-style non-democracy. This was also a hope following the 2006 coup.

Pichai says out loud what the military has been hinting at and what the elite wants: forget electoral democracy. And, blame Thaksin Shinawatra for giving ” rural Thailand … their voice; [a feeling] that their vote counts.” Big problem because, despite winning elections on after another, “Thaksin is no democrat.”

So while “[w]e tell our people that elections mean we are a democracy…. But in reality, we are not. We have never been.” This is the elite speaking (“we”) to the phrai (“our people”).

As the anti-democrats and the military dictatorship endlessly repeat, Thaksin, like all “politicians and parties he used patronage…. He ran Thailand like a company and took cronyism to a higher level than those before him.” Yes, we know, this is damning of all Thai businesses, but the military doesn’t really trust capitalists either. That’s why the dictatorship is grabbing large bits of the economy.

Pichai sounds like he just stepped off Suthep’s stage: “His [Thaksin’s] party’s steadfast adherence to majority rule, completely ignoring the voices of the minority, clearly illustrates the lack of understanding of the democratic process.”

He says the Democrats also “failed dismally to reform themselves as an alternative to Thaksin,” and even Suthep “strayed from the democratic path…”, but these slips might be forgiven if it weren’t for Thaksin’s dominance.

Pichai observes:

Since the coup, I have heard many comments from a number of people asking whether Thais are ready for democracy and whether Thais (especially those upcountry) truly understand what it means. There have been suggestions, for example, that candidates for elected MPs should only come from the “knowledgeable and educated”. Another is that only taxpayers should be allowed to vote, or that voters should at least be given a test on what democracy means before they are allowed to vote.

This all sounds pretty good to him, and probably much of the elite:

These comments reinforce my view that for a start we should be honest with ourselves and admit that we are not yet a democracy. Let’s admit that we will never have a democracy like countries in the West. There’s nothing wrong with that since our history, our culture and our traditions are different.

How might that work?

Even if it means adopting, for example, a system where all senators are appointed and seats allocated to the military and bureaucracy in which places are filled by rotation, then so be it. This does not mean that a fully appointed Senate should supersede the elected representatives of the people. This idea may run counter to the democratic principle of elected senators, but past experience has shown that the bureaucracy and the military have and will play a role in governance.

Let’s be honest — is this democratic? No, it is not. But unless we find a political structure that allows all stakeholders their space and say in governance, we will once again be back to where we were before.

Pichai essentially prescribes a Premocracy. Yes, let the phrai vote and have an elected house, but this should be meaningless. The elite of royalists, the monied, the military can control things through a fully selected senate. Let the phrai think they have some say in things, but they are really stupid buffaloes, and the elite will really control things, and we can call that “Thai-style democracy.”



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21 07 2014
“Liberals” do the junta’s work II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] was the subject of an earlier post where PPT stated that he is a reliable propagandist for the royalists, posing as one of those so-called […]

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