Widespread fear

21 06 2015

Anti-democrats have sometimes claimed that the current military dictatorship is benign. They babble about the junta not jailing “many” opponents and claim that life is better without “political conflict.” Naturally, they ignore the censorship, the scores of lese majeste jailings, the flight of dozens and the hundreds who have been “called in” for periods of hours to days and weeks.

From the beginning, this military dictatorship has worked to instil fear amongst its real and potential opponents. It called in opposition organizers, threatened village leaders in areas considered dominated by red shirts and has attempted to harass and threaten all those who appear potentially oppositional.

Interestingly, in the run-up to the 2014 coup, anti-democrats and the military worked with some farmers’ leaders, especially those in the central region, to organize demonstrations against the Yingluck Shinawatra government. The claim was that the rice price guarantee was not being paid. Indeed, in some cases it wasn’t, not least because the anti-democrats prevented rice sales and payments.

As soon as the military junta was in place, 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 response from the state, usually through the military, has usually been murderous.

All of this contributes to fear.

A report at the Bangkok Post: conveys the degree to which the military dictatorship has instilled fear in farmers. Because of a water shortage, central region rice farmers have been told not to plant and the”military government would not compensate central region farmers who had been asked not to grow a second crop…”. Many have already planted and now face financial ruin or much higher indebtedness.

Kwanchai Mahachuenjai, a vice-president of the Central Region Farmers Club, says: “We don’t know what to do. We’re struggling already to live from hand to mouth. Yet we can’t protest as we could be arrested. We’re on our last legs now…. We dare not protest because we fear the law…”.

He pleaded with the military bosses: “If there’s anything we can still ask, it’s that if the government can’t give us any compensation, at the very least it should suspend our debts for three years with no interest and find us new borrowing sources so those of us with some assets can borrow more.”

Most noticeable in this report is the fear of the military dictatorship and the dependence that has been recreated for farmers. We imagine this is satisfying for the military junta and other anti-democrats. Widespread fear and dependence is the stock in trade of the royalist elite and the military.



2 responses

22 06 2015
General fear | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the military fears oppositional political organizing. It represses academics, farmers, students and any other groups they feel might incite […]

22 06 2015
General fear | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the military fears oppositional political organizing. It represses academics, farmers, students and any other groups they feel might incite […]

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