On neo-feudal restorationism

2 02 2020

Pravit Rojanaphruk deserves considerable praise for daring to take up the case of the royalist vandalizing of statues commemorating the 1932 revolution and its leaders.

His latest op-ed “Why Did Statues of a Former PM Have to Go?” is a must-read. While he can’t name names, his view that this latest act of royalist erasure is cause for deep concern: “the removal of two bronze statues of him is something all Thais should be worried about.”

1932: The end of the absolute monarchy announced

On the lack of any explanation for the recent acts of cultural vandalism, he says:

To this day, I never received any straightforward answer from those running those facilities why the statues had to go. On my visits, it seemed to me that the military personnel were under a lot of pressure to remain taciturn, perhaps because the answer may be too complicated for the public to understand.

Phibul

In fact, most Thais have a pretty good understanding of these events. They know that King Vajiralongkorn is seeking to further aggrandize the monarchy. They know that the king has been land grabbing and is now building a huge palace precinct that “requires” the erasing of all other symbols of 1932 and the end of the absolute monarchy.

As Pravit has it, “If statues of someone so influential to modern Thailand could be removed without a trace, modern Thailand as we know it is in deep trouble.”

He observes:

Scholar Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian noted in her book “Thailand’s Durable Premier” that Pibulsongkram’s own goals were most likely to “permanently eliminate the rule of absolute monarchy and its deep-rooted prestige and influence over the people in the country.”

Could this be the reason why, in a climate where concerted attempts are being made to restore and revive the supreme dominance of the monarchy, that Pibulsongkram statues must go?

Yes, that’s it.

And he adds that Plaek Phibulsonggram’s ghost “and the ghosts of his fellow revolutionaries who overthrew absolute monarchy, are still a haunting threat to some. And to the powerful, ghostly threats must be exorcised.”

Probably, but we know that both his father’s and his mother’s families were vehement opponents of the 1932 revolution and that his father loathed Phibul.

Pravit concludes: “In the end, it is not just the memories of Pibulsongkram that are at stake – but that of modern Thai history itself.”

That’s true. But it is also Thailand’s political future that is at stake. Will the royalists overcome democrats and can the palace complete the more than 80 year struggle to undo the 1932 revolution?


Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




%d bloggers like this: