We missed a sadly revealing story about Thailand’s politics under the military dictatorship a few days ago, and a regular reader emailed us on it.
At the official propaganda site of the military dictatorship, the Secretariat of the Senate is reported to have played “host to a special activity designed to train new democratic leaders.”
Now, recall that the Senate since 2007 has been a mix of elected and unelected members and has essentially operated as a block on elected governments and has repeatedly sought to bring such governments down. It has been broadly anti-democratic and a majority of its members supported the 2014 military putsch which ended its role, then taken up by the junta and its appointed National Legislative Assembly.
The Secretariat of the Senate is acting as the Secretariat of the NLA.
In other words, there isn’t a democrat in sight and no one in this group knows anything about democracy. Nothing. The website of the Senate is an advertisement for military and monarchy.
So what kind of “training” would have been opened by NLA First Vice President of the Surachai Liengboonlertchai, himself part of the unelected, undemocratic swill?
The “training,” an indoctrination session, was for “more than 100 people, including heads of government offices, local government office executives, local leaders, members of the press and lawyers from Loei, Phetchabun and Chaiyaphum.”
You guessed it, this is part of the exercise in identified red shirt strongholds to prevent the election of pro-Thaksin Shinawatra and/or anti-military political candidates. That assumes an election will ever be held. PPT reckons it will only be held when the junta is convinced its “good” people will be elected to government.
Our interpretation of this political indoctrination is confirmed by Surachai who said that the project “recognizes the importance of people from all walks of life and wide ranging careers and their need to have an accurate understanding of democratic rule and political participation.” He means “correct” in the sense that totalitarian regimes mean it: following the official line.
He added that the appropriately indoctrinated cadres were then expected to “pass on such knowledge to people around them while the project should be a forum in which all learning, ideas and even problems can be exchanged and discussed…”. They become the eyes and ears of the military junta in “enemy” territory and seek to defeat the “red shirt” tide.