Dictating III

1 10 2014

According to one definition, a military dictatorship is:

a form of government different from civilian dictatorship for a number of reasons: their motivations for seizing power, the institutions through which they organize their rule, and the ways in which they leave power. Often viewing itself as saving the nation from the corrupt or myopic civilian politicians, a military dictatorship justify its position as “neutral” arbiters on the basis of their membership within the armed forces. For example, many juntas adopt titles, such as “National Redemption Council”, “Committee of National Restoration”, or “National Liberation Committee”. Military leaders often rule as a junta, selecting one of them as the head….Prayuth

Military juntas are keen to ensure compliance with their political views. This is as true today for Thailand’s current junta as it was for some of its predecessors, of which there have been many. Today the junta seeks to turn back the political clock, repressing, controlling and “re-educating.”

On the latter process, The Isaan Record reports from the Northeast, seeking to ensure that red shirts are returned to the “safety” of early 20th century monarchism and ultra-nationalism, led by the preachers of the military junta.

The Isaan Record reports on the indoctrination in one village as a military unit told the villagers:

How was it that we kept a hold on our country and avoided being colonized by another country? It was because our king protected our nation…. If any outsiders come to destroy our country, we will fight until we die. We need to protect our land and we need to love each other as a united country.

Of course, the villagers know this line. It has been the mantra of military dictatorships and royalist governments for decades. It is what they have been repeatedly told in schools and in the mainstream media.The military obviously believes that red shirts have been “misled” whereas others might say they have had their eyes opened.

These activities are part of 3-day indoctrinations “in villages across Isaan.” Known as the “Project to Strengthen Stability at the Village Level,” as would be expected, it is organized by the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), formed during the period of counter-insurgency in the 1960s.

ISOC does exactly as anyone who was around in 1966 would recognize. Saluting the national flag, chanting “the truth,” listening to military types lecturing on “the importance of the monarchy in Thailand,” and watching nationalist films. In this case, “The Legend of King Naresuan.”

A “trainer” explains the program: “The intention of the event is to dispense with the colors in the community and provide a unity program…”. This trainer explained that these events “had been 80% successful.” His measure of “success” is easily seen when asked if “any participants expressed opposition to the coup or military government…”. His reply: “They wouldn’t dare!

What did villagers and community leaders say? One observed:

“All we want is democracy and there’s never going to be more democracy that results from a coup…. No government born out of a coup has ever governed democratically.”

The report adds that “nearly all the villagers present were Red Shirts who no longer feel free to express their political views.” A leader states the military wanted to “ensure that people don’t oppose them.”

It gave little attention to the villagers’ political or economic concerns. When the indoctrination did turn to farming, it was to promote the military’s version of the ideological “sufficiency economy” attributed to the king.

It is confirmation of the military-monarchy alliance that is fundamentally anti-democratic.



One response

10 10 2014
Dictating IV | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Our earlier Dictating posts are here, here and here. […]

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