On opposition and the monarchy’s centrality

22 07 2014

At the Financial Times there’s a report on “Thailand’s scattered and demoralised opposition is seeking to regroup after a military coup in May toppled the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra and drove some of its leading ‘red shirt’ supporters into exile.”

แปลจากบทความ “Thai Opposition Regroup Abroad In Bid To Regain Power” ของหนังสือพิมพ์ไฟแนนเชี่ยล ไทมส์is available too.

Jakrapob Penkair has talked about preparations “to register an official organisation-in-exile in an unnamed western country and to launch a ‘road map’ detailing plans to regain power” for some time, and he is quoted again.

Yet action seems difficult in the face of an all-embracing and suffocating fascism from the military dictatorship inside Thailand.

The report notes that the “military government headed by [The Leader] General Prayuth Chan-ocha has led a crackdown on red shirt supporters, detaining many and forcing them to sign documents renouncing politics. Gatherings of more than five people have been banned…”.

Yingluck is facing continuous and vindictive legal actions from partisan “independent institutions.”  She has “branded unfair an investigation that last week called for her to face criminal charges.”

Other “senior opposition figures have gone into hiding or self-exile in Europe, the US, Japan or Cambodia.”

Thaksin Shinawatra has been quiet.

Jakrapob observes that “the opposition was divided between those who wanted to fight on and those who felt demoralised after the latest coup.”

The Free Thai Movement, which Jakrapob helped form, says it will “seek to rally Thais living abroad, including up to 300,000 in the US, to back the democratic cause.”

It’s latest statement is reproduced at Asia Provocateur, and also available as แถลงการณ์อย่างเป็นทางการ: “องค์กรเสรีไทยประณามการควบคุมสื่อของคณะเผด็จการทหารไทย”

The movement states that it will “also press western governments to impose sanctions against the Thai dictatorship, beyond the limited countermeasures launched” to date.

Jakrapob states: “We need to mount external support … to finish the unfinished revolution…”. He adds: “The reform of Thailand has to involve the monarchy…. We can’t keep saying they’re above politics…”.

Jakrapob says that the “latest coup may have been prompted by tensions surrounding the succession of 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej.” That was also a line run at the time of the 2006 coup.

Whether it is about succession or not, it is clear that the monarchy remains central for the royalist elite’s rule. As Jakrapob observes, “the crisis stemmed from the unwillingness of the Thai elite to cede political and economic power to the rural masses.”

The monarchy is critical to this “unwillingness.” After all, the “children” cannot know better than the “father.”




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