Updated: Buying villages

26 08 2014

At The Nation it was recently reported that the “the RULING JUNTA has allocated [5-year] Bt1.3 billion to enhance national reconciliation at the village level through the Department of Provincial Administration under supervision of the Interior Ministry – one of its biggest reconciliation [sic.] outlays so far.”

We have those words in capitals to emphasize that The Nation is correct in its description of Thailand’s regime, whereas Khaosod has erroneously slipped into a reference to the “recent formation of a new semi-civilian government” in describing the military regime.

But back to the point. The junta states that it has a “new approach.” It will spend the loot “mostly through village committees.” Nothing new in that, for the junta is reinforcing the hierarchical structures of unelected administration. In its Orwellian double-vision, this becomes “support” for a “process of creating reconciliation through democratic means in order to end political conflict.”

Grisada Boonrach, who is the director-general of the Provincial Administration, which has long been responsible for controlling and ordering rural society, said that “in the past, root causes of political conflict at the grassroots level was the feeling of being abandoned by governments. Their struggles were ignored and they tended to support certain political factions that responded to their concerns.”

You get the picture: the hierarchical agencies of military, monarchy and bureaucracy are spending a fortune of taxpayers’ money to defeat elections, civilian politicians and local political activism. Their aim is to reduce the empowerment that multi-level elections provided the “grassroots.”

The reports adds that the so-called reconciliation project “is one of the key missions for the junta.” Despite the fact that this is only about 3500 baht per village/community per year, we think that most were aware that destroying democracy and restoring hierarchical rule was the reason for the military coup.

Srisompob Jitpiromsri, a political scientist, observed that “reconciliation could be achieved, but only through the democratic process…”. True, but Srisompob is imagining that the junta is interested in reconciliation and democracy. It isn’t.

Update: In a story about the military dictatorship and its plans for the continued and enforced “conservatization” of Thailand, Atiya Achakulwisut provides a useful account of the military junta’s total control.


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