Farmers, democracy and primitive accumulation

3 03 2015

Readers will have noticed the attacks on southern farmers in recent times, including, some say, four assassinations between 2010 and 2015, with the latest death being Chai Bunthonglek.

We have been looking for an opportunity to post regarding the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT). In amongst all of the mad monarchism of recent days it has been difficult to find time and space. However, thanks to a reader who drew our attention to a website in development, we have some details here about the SPFT, and more can be found at the website. All that follows is lifted from the site and is a taste for readers:

SPFT

Beginnings: The Southern Peasant’s Federation of Thailand was established in 2008, however the history of the associated movement of which the SPFT is a part dates back to May of 1992, when the expansive people’s movements emerged in attempts to institute a legitimate prime minister and oust the dictatorial system. The People’s Movement, or P-Move, consisted of grassroots lower and middle class people who pressured for a new constitution that better met their needs, which was approved after much delay on October 11th, 1997. The new constitution helped allow for organizations focused on environmental and natural resource management to spring into action and expand their efforts.

Mission: Securing arable land for peasants and landless people who have otherwise been disadvantaged. Thousands of people have been displaced or face mounting pressure to vacate their land in the wake of the privatization of agricultural land by both foreign and domestic companies. The SPFT has re-appropriated illegally-held land from the hands of private entities and distributed fertile land to many hundreds of families; essentially, the re-establishment of peasant class so as to carry on their livelihoods as independent farmers, protected under the organization.

Pushing for legally-binding land reform initiatives. The SPFT, in addition to claiming land for peasants and campaigning for redistributive policies, must also engage within the realm of policy to ensure that its gains are respected and violations against the organization and its members will not go unpunished under the law. This is accomplished in pressuring companies to vacate land which they illegally occupy past the expiration of their titles, legal battles to claim ownership and alter policy and government mediation to legally enforce them.

The creation of people-focused communities and cooperatives. We do not wish to establish privately owned, profit-based zones of operation, as though our organization constituted a company. Instead, we strive to construct an alternative to a system of subjugation by the private sector and state hegemony; one which employs a co-operative system of land management that focuses first and foremost on meeting the needs of its people, ensuring equal representation and common ownership of productive forces.

Establishing a united front with fraternal organizations under the people’s movement. The SPFT is engaged in participation with like-minded organizations such as the Thai Land Reform Network, the Four Regions Slum Network, and the overarching People’s Movement. We understand that as organizations which answer first and foremost to the needs of the people, we hold common interests and should therefore engage in unity of action to accomplish them. In this, the people’s movement is constituted of a wide variety of small organizations which form a powerful voice and collective action group capable of influencing policy and establishing a foundation from which an alternative socio-economic model may be realized; one which is entirely constituted by and truly represents the masses.

 


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6 responses

1 04 2015
Threats to farmers | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] that long ago, PPT posted on threats and intimidation against the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT). The Asian Human Rights Commission has sent out this urgent […]

1 04 2015
Threats to farmers | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] that long ago, PPT posted on threats and intimidation against the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand (SPFT). The Asian Human Rights Commission has sent out this urgent […]

16 05 2015
More on the military and primitive accumulation | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] A while ago we had several posts on the military dictatorship and primitive accumulation. We used this terminology in describing the actions of the state and military under the dictatorship as it clears out oppositions that seek to protect land and resources from those who control wealth in Thailand (here, here, here and here). […]

16 05 2015
More on the military and primitive accumulation | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] A while ago we had several posts on the military dictatorship and primitive accumulation. We used this terminology in describing the actions of the state and military under the dictatorship as it clears out oppositions that seek to protect land and resources from those who control wealth in Thailand (here, here, here and here). […]

21 06 2015
Widespread fear | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the purported support for farmers was thrown aside. The military has engaged in and supported land grabs, presided over attacks on and assassination of farmers. This is pretty much true to form for the military; in the past, when farmers organized, the […]

21 06 2015
Widespread fear | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the purported support for farmers was thrown aside. The military has engaged in and supported land grabs, presided over attacks on and assassination of farmers. This is pretty much true to form for the military; in the past, when farmers organized, the […]




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