Ratbag fascists

21 05 2021

As the mainstream media seem to be ignoring lese majeste and other political repression while also self-censoring on anything to do with the monarchy, it is Prachatai that is providing a window on rabid monarchism that looks increasingly like ratbag fascism by both state royalists and citizen monarchists.

In one report we are reminded that the royalist state targets particular individuals and their families. In fact, there have been several cases where it targets mothers. This report states that the “mother of student activist Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul has received a police summons on a charge under the Emergency Decree, after she joined a protest demanding her daughter’s release.”

She was one of the “mothers of five detained activists at one of the ‘Stand Against Detention’ protests, standing next to cardboard cutouts of their children.” Their call was to “return the children to their mothers.” Now she has a summons declaring she “violated the Emergency Decree by organizing an unauthorised gathering of more than 20 people at risk of the spread of disease …[at a] protest in front of the Supreme Court on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on 28 April 2021 to demand the release of Panusaya and other activists who were detained at the time.”

This was just one of a number of “Stand Against Detention” protests in Bngkok and the provinces. So far she and just two others have been summoned by the bully-boys in brown acting for the greenish tinged fascist regime. The others are reportedly the activist Punsak Srithep, “a member of Resistant Citizen and whose son Samapan was killed during the the military crackdown on red shirt protesters in May 2010, … and another protester named Napatsorn Boonrey.”

The protesters were said to have maintained their “social distance” and it is said that “Resistant Citizen also required registration for each protest and only 20 participants were allowed.”

The second Prachatai report is of probably state-organized royalist vigilantes in Phetchabun Province who descended on a young vocational student’s home demanding and forcing her to “apologize for alleged royal defamation.”

The group claimed to be “government officials and people ‘with the duty of suppression and control regarding the institution of the monarchy’.” On 19 May, claiming “they were from the Department of Provincial Administration,” with no warrants, to “charge her with royal defamation.”

The vigilantes alleged that “the student had posted video clips about the monarchy that they claimed were inappropriate.”

They videoed the student being forced to prostate before a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn and apologize. And, the posted this on Facebook to humiliate her and warn others of the danger of thinking differently.

Under this regime, Thailand’s future remains bleak.





Yellow anti-democrats and the fascist ex-monk

26 10 2020

Fascist former monk Buddha Issara – Suwit Thongprasert – has mobilized some of his PDRC gang to oppose any reform to the monarchy. He was with the king just a couple of days ago.

Thai PBS reports that in that public meeting, “The King said thank you…. I replied, it is my duty.” His “duty” is in “mobilising royalists in a counter-move against growing calls for monarchy reform.” He still has “320,000 followers on his Facebook page alone.”

It should not be forgotten that when a rightist, military supporting, ant-democratic, royalist monk, he illegally detained and beat two plainclothes policemen. He also extorted money from some businesses.

Today, in response to student-led, pro-democracy demonstrators who are calling for monarchy reforms, he declared: “If you’re going to destroy the monarchy, you must do it over my dead body!”

With his royalist gang of royalists “camping outside Parliament since Sunday to show their support for the government and prevent the invasion of pro-democracy protesters,” the fascist former monk has objected “to the setting up of a panel to look into reforming the monarchy.”

No democracy permitted at parliament!

He’s joined in ultra-royalism by the detestable Rientong Nan-nah, who has recently expressed his hatred for the students: “Under the pretext of reforming the monarchy, they undermine the revered institution. I don’t see them as people. I see them as enemies of the King.”

Their role is to provide support to the regime and to encourage the military to crackdown on protesters.





Further updated: Cultural monarchism

25 10 2020

With demonstrators again coming together in a “leaderless rally,” they answered King Vajiralongkorn’s declaration of political war. They are not afraid.

That notion of not being afraid has been taken up by at least one journalist. In an op-ed at The Guardian, Pravit Rojanaphruk has supported the demonstrators and he is right to observe that the target of their rallies is now the king and the overbearing monarchy. More importantly, he is, as far as we can tell, the first journalist to ditch the malarkey about the dead king being universally loved and revered. He is critical, stating:

Young Thai protesters want to make sure that if there is yet another coup attempt, King Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the throne after his popular father, King Bhumibol, died in October 2016, will not endorse it – as his late father did many times by putting his signature to orders effectively legitimising a coup. On average, Thailand has experienced one military coup every seven years since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.

Clearly, any last remaining hope they had was demolished when the king mingled with ultra-royalists and fascists.

It cannot be doubted that the recent protests have opened space for critical discussion of the monarchy. In our view, the space currently available is the widest since the 1940s. That it has taken so long for this space to be re-opened means that uprooting establishment monarchism is a huge task. Military, schools, art, architecture, religion, administration, areas of science and engineering, and popular culture are just some of the areas that have been distorted and crippled by the influence of staid and backward-looking monarchism.

In Chiang Mai, some have begun to push back against decades of taxpayer funded palace propaganda. A Twitter campaign calls “for students, staff, alumni and the general public to support a removal of the art display installed on the side of an exterior wall at its Faculty of Architecture” that is pure palace propaganda.

The Bangkok Post recently reported that the yellow-shirted administration at Chiang Mai University had had top publicly reject “a bid to remove the Sculpture of Light, an art display bearing the likeness of … King Bhumibol Adulyadej…”. (As usual, we have had to delete words that are royalist trip from this quote.)

The administrators went full-on royalist saying the dead king “was highly revered by students and staff.” Clearly not by all. It is evident that many will come to view the origin of the current problems as lying in the previous reign and the king’s right-wing, pro-military stance.

Getting ever more royalist, the administrators groveled, declaring how “indescribably grateful” they were for the dead king’s “contributions to the country…”. Do they mean military dictatorship? Further, they declared they “would not permit any act to be undertaken within its compound which degraded the honour of the late king in any way.”

Those calling for the propaganda to be removed said “some people were concerned about public space being allocated to art displays and everyone was entitled to express opinions over how the space should be used.” They called for political neutrality at the university and a return of space to the people.

Update 1: There’s more on challenging royalist culturalism at Thai PBS and at Thisrupt.

Update 2: Another account of how royalist culturalism is being challenged may be found at The Nation.





CCTV for “security”

10 10 2020

Quite a few countries are going the Chinese way on facial recognition, and not all of them military-backed or fascist regimes.

We note that Thailand’s military-backed regime is feeling its Chineseness too. The Nation reports that the police are “working with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) to install an additional 5,000 CCTV cameras in areas prone to crimes in 50 districts of Bangkok, aiming to increase public security…”.

Of course, one thing to observe about CCTV is that they are likely to be a valuable source of income for the big shots involved.

And, there’s also the question of why so many get installed over the years and then seldom work. Then there’s the question of how many CCTVs there are and whether this is recycling and old idea. Back in 2010, it was reported that City Hall had plans to install 10,000 more CCTVs within two years. They were to be hooked up to power supplies from the Metropolitan Electricity Authority. Then, while there were various estimates, it was stated that there were already almost 3,000 CCTVs that had already been installed in Bangkok.

We get the feeling that creeping fascism is now galloping our way.





The grim road ahead

18 06 2019

Atiya Achakulwisut is a columnist with the Bangkok Post – who can still be located on the awful new web layout that runs slower than a three-legged buffalo – who has been pretty brave and insightful in her recent columns. Her contribution today deserves to be read in full and carefully considered.

She discerns the junta’s efforts to establish a new regime as involving violence, intimidation and repression. A lot like the junta’s current regime, but likely to be nastier.

We won’t summarize the column, but point to some bita nd pieces while urging our readers to read the whole thing.

Atiya, clipped from the Bangkok Post

… a trend has emerged which is worrying for a country seeking to reestablish democracy.

Of course, the junta has never really been interested in re-establishing democracy. It has only been interested in embedding military-dominated government.

A return to extremism complete with lese majeste accusations, intolerance to different political views and a willingness to bypass justice and fairness for political expediency has prevailed in Thailand’s post-election landscape.

Since the far-right conservatives at the helm of the country and their support base seem more intent on beating up the emerging liberalism …[and] the prospects are grim for where this round of tussling will end.

… the [junta’s] coalition at present appears more like a loose bundle of friends for benefits, ready to join hands for mutual interest…

If anyone doubts that last point, consider the blatant nepotism of Capt Thammanat Prompao, a Palang Pracharat MP for Phayao and chief of its strategic committee in the North. He’s considered a crook controversial figure, so can’t be a minister. His response is “let a family member take a ministerial post.” So slippery, so easy, so corrupt. Get used to it.

… extremism and a winner-take-all attitude seem to have prevailed. As if to prop up their lack of legitimacy and feeble political position, the ruling conservatives have reverted to whipping up of far-right sentiment….

That includes the extravagant use of  lese majeste by pathetic royalists.

Violence is waiting to erupt…. Authoritarianism has been ramped up as well.

The military regime may believe that dictatorship has carried it this far and its iron fist can still win the day…. [T]he road ahead looks grim.

Sadly, we agree.





Updated: A decade of PPT

21 01 2019

A decade has passed for Political Prisoners in Thailand. We admit our huge disappointment that we are still active after all these years.

By this, we mean that PPT should have gone the way of the dinosaurs, being unnecessary as Thailand’s political prisoners, its military dictatorship and political repression would have been a thing of the past. But political dinosaurs flourish in Thailand’s fertile environment filled with fascists, royalists and neo-feudalists. Sadly, the political climate in  the country is regressing faster than most pundits could have predicted.

When we began PPT on 21 January 2009, we hoped it would be a temporary endeavor, publicizing a spike in lese majeste cases to an international audience. Instead, a decade later, we are still at it and dealing with the outcomes of royalist politics gone mad. We now face the repressive reality of the continued dominance of a military dictatorship, brought to power by an illegal military coup in 2014. This regime is underpinned by a nonsensical royalism that masks and protects an anti-democratic ruling class. Royalists have fought to maintain a royalist state that lavishes privilege, wealth and power on a few.

In “protecting” monarchy, regime and ruling class, the military junta has continued the politicization of the judiciary and is now rigging an “election” that may, one day, be held, if the king finally decides that he will allow an election. That “election,” embedded in a military-royalist constitution, will potentially be a political nightmare, maintaining military political domination for years to come.

A better, more representative and more democratic politics remains a dream.

When we sputtered into life it was as a collaborative effort to bring more international attention to the expanded use of the lese majeste and computer crimes laws by the then Abhisit Vejjajiva regime and his anti-democratic Democrat Party. That regime’s tenure saw scores die and thousands injured in political clashes and hundreds held as political prisoners.

The royalism and repression that gained political impetus from anti-democratic street demonstrations that paved the way for the 2006 military coup and then for the 2014 military coup have become the military state’s ideology. Those perceived as opponents of the military and the monarchy were whisked away into detention, faced threats and surveillance and some have died or been “disappeared” in mysterious circumstances, and continue to do so in recent months.

This royalism and repression has also strengthened the monarchy and the new monarch. The junta has supinely permitted King Vajiralongkorn to assemble greater economic and political power. It has colluded with the palace in aggregating land for the monarch that was previously set aside for the public. It has colluded in destroying several symbols of the 1932 revolution, emphasizing the rise of neo-feudal royalism that leaves democracy neutered.

On this anniversary, as in past years,  we want an end to political repression and gain the release of every political prisoner. Under the current regime, hundreds of people have been jailed or detained, subjected to military courts and threatened by the military. The military regime is not only illegal but is the most repressive since the royally-appointed regime under Thanin Kraivixien in the mid-1970s.

The 2006 and 2014 coups, both conducted in the name of the monarchy, have seen a precipitous slide into a new political dark age where the lese majeste law – Article 112 – has been a grotesque weapon of choice in a deepening political repression.

From 2006 to 2017, lese majeste cases grew exponentially. Worse, both military and civil courts have held secret trials and handed out unimaginably harsh sentences. And even worse than that,  the definition of what constitutes a crime under the lese majeste law has been extended. Thankfully, in 2017 we were unable to identify any new lese majeste cases and some in process were mysteriously dropped. We don’t know why. It could be that the military’s widespread crackdown has successfully quieted anti-monarchism or it might be that the king wants no more cases to get public airings and “damage” his “reputation.”

The last information available suggest that there are at least 18 suspects accused of violating Article112 whose cases have reached final verdicts and who remain in prison.

As for PPT, despite heavy censorship and blocking in Thailand, we have now had more than 6 million page views at our two sites. The blocking in Thailand has been more extensive in 2018 than in past years. This is our 7,999th post.

PPT isn’t in the big league of the blogging world, but the level of interest in Thailand’s politics and the use of lese majeste has increased. We are pleased that there is far more attention to political repression and lese majeste than there was when we began and that the international reporting and understanding of these issues is far more critical than it was.

We want to thank our readers for sticking with us through all the attempts by the Thai censors to block us. We trust that we remain useful and relevant and we appreciate the emails we receive from readers.

As in the past we declare:

The lese majeste and computer crimes laws must be repealed.

Charges against political activists must be dropped.

All political prisoners must be released.

The military dictatorship must be opposed.

Update: We completely botched the number of views at PPT. We have amended above to 6 million, not 3 million as we originally had.





A uniformed hierarchy

13 01 2019

It was easy to miss or to dismiss: a private school decided to let its students wear whatever they wanted, one day a week, for six weeks or so. By this, they meant that, on the day, students were not required to wear a uniform.

Uniforming them early

It is common to see Thais in uniform. Royals have hundreds of them, even for pets.

This reflects a society that is rigidly hierarchical and that has been militarized. School students are regimented and uniformed at every level of education from kindergarten to university.

The school said the one-day exercise was so students could “wear casual clothes to express their individuality and creativity…”. Such notions are anathema to Thailand’s ruling elite and especially to military types.

Presumably they are also somewhat surprising for average Thais who have internalized militarized notions that uniforms make for an orderly society.

Training “good” royalist lads at Vajiravudh College

Roger Crutchley usually writes a Bangkok Post column that humorous reflection on an older Thailand. This week, however, he reflects on the uniform “revolution.” He observes:

Reports that Bangkok Christian College is allowing students to wear casual clothes once a week might seem a trivial tale, but it could cause a few ructions in Thailand. This is a country where even university students wear uniforms and any thoughts about breaking out from this conformity are frowned upon. After all, it might spark “self-expression” which will send shudders down the spine of the education establishment. The next thing they know, students even might start asking meaningful questions.

Orderly and uniformed

Morally unacceptable but still a uniform

The policing of school uniforms in Thailand has been more rigorous than teaching the basic subjects. Regimenting students – uniform, hair cuts, parroting fascist slogans and inculcating hierarchical values and subservience – is, for many in the ruling class, absolutely critical for the maintenance of their privilege. It is as if policing uniforms is necessary for maintaining a moral, upright and ordered nation.

Unacceptable uniforming causes moral panic.

But even unacceptable uniforms seem superior to no uniform at all. No uniforms seems to mean the collapse of the world as the ruling class knows it.

Prachatai reports that following the first day of the Bangkok Christian College experiment, the Ministry of Education have sprung into action and want to “halt the experiment and stop other schools from copying it even though the rules say it is OK.”

No rules broken, except for the rule of hierarchy that all Thais are forced to inculcate and follow. To maintain hierarchy,

Maintaining hierarchy

The Office of the Private Education Commission (OPEC) has sent an official letter to Bangkok Christian College, a famous private school, asking it to review its initiative. Mr. Chalam Attatham, Secretary-General of OPEC, said that OPEC is worried about discipline, orderliness, the expense for parents, teachers’ responsibility, the Thai social context and social problems that might arise.

Chalerm wanted the school to restore order and maintain the hierarchy. He opined:

Bangkok Christian College must consult its board and report back to the Ministry of Education, because what students can wear in private schools still comes under the 2008 MOE Uniform Rules. We understand that the school’s executive team and teachers have consulted each other and want to do research on student uniforms for 6 weeks, but we want them to look deeper than that into what effects it will have during the experiment. After all, the MOE, if anything happens, has to reconsider this. If other private schools want to do anything, they should think carefully about the consequences of their actions. A school board has to be strong about this….

The junta’s Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin immediately jumped into the fray. After all, he knows what uniforms are about as he wears them and serves men wearing them. He reinforced the hierarchy, saying:

The reason we must have uniforms is because wearing uniforms is a matter of tradition and culture since the time of Rama V, who said that apart from setting discipline, having student uniforms narrows the gap between the rich and the poor.

Discipline, tradition, hierarchy, maintaining the social, political and economic power of the ruling class. Of course, the military knows how to deal with recalcitrant students and has, several times, violently intervened to maintain those values of the ruling class.

Students in 1976 (a Lombard photo)

The current military junta has maintained strict control of universities and has changed the curriculum in schools to maintain its “values.” This has involved “training” students with military discipline.

Controlling students

In fact, one of the junta’s tasks in “returning happiness” to the people has been to reinstate “orderliness.” Erasing challenges to the monarchy – the institution at the top of the hierarchy – has been critical. The military knows that monarchists are more submissive to the hierarchy.





The junta’s campaign double standards

10 01 2019

With rumors that a royal decree is due at any moment, parties are continuing to campaign and the military junta is continuing to cheat.

The most recent example is the sudden withdrawal of permission for the Puea Thai Party to use a sports stadium for a campaign rally in Phayao.

Out of the blue, the Phayao Provincial Administration Organization withdrew its previous permission to allow use of the sports stadium to be used. Suddenly, the PAO discovered – was told – that this could not be done. Hurriedly, the PAO decided to “explain” this by declaring that allowing the party to use the government stadium “would give the party an unfair advantage over other political parties.”

Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, confirmed that he was lying when he said that he knew nothing of this but then declared “he believed the PAO acted according to the law.”

Knew nothing but knew it was legal. Yeah, right. Baldfaced lying has been a a defining feature of fascists worldwide, and so it is in Thailand.

He was caught out when reporters asked him why it was that the junta’s devil party, Palang Pracharath, had been able to use a government facility in Phayao for a campaign rally, the lying general suddenly decided that the whole thing was a provincial affair.

Double standards? You bet, big ones.

Cheating? Of course.

Rigging the election? Yes, still rigging.





Propaganda for the junta and monarch(y)

29 08 2018

While PPT was posting of Fascism and academic accommodations to it and for it, a couple of interesting stories appeared in The Nation and Khaosod that seem to reflect on the issues of academic (un)freedom, indoctrination and propaganda.

With the so-called succession crisis seemingly never really materializing, royalism and royalist propaganda for the king has moved into an even higher gear, fertilized by the junta’s fervent monarchism and anti-republicanism.

Khaosod’s story is of blunt force propaganda inflicted on students at Thammasat University by junta and royalist university administrators:

Eight people, six women and two men wearing yellow neckerchiefs and blue baseball caps, marched on stage with the precision of a military parade. Taking turns speaking over the next two hours, they described the benevolence of the Chakri dynasty in bringing peace and happiness to the people of Thailand.

The propaganda for the monarchy began with the shameful groveling of “rector Kesinee Withoonchart …[who] prostrated herself on the ground before it [a portrait of the king].”

The propagandists, “drawn from the armed forces and police” are “volunteers” in the pay of the state and are known as “Volunteers Unit 904. The number 904 is derived from the former radio call sign of the king before he was king.”

Endless palace and junta propaganda wrapped up “with people being asked to stand for a song newly written for the new king and the traditional royal anthem.” The message seems to be that the population will now endure double doses of forced erect standing that Fascists mistake for obedience.

This gross effort concluded in an entirely appropriate manner: “a question-and-answer session saw no takers from the audience.” Fascists and royalists – many of them combining these proclivities – mistake this for orderliness and attention to hierarchy.

The Nation has a more on propaganda, this time for the junta’s Deputy Dictator, the Watch Man, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan. Like magic, a “new Facebook page has been created to support and defend Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prawit …, who has been embattled with damaging scandals recently.” It seems this page is to support “Uncle Pom’s Lovely Side.” We are unsure which side that is, but we guess it is his right side.

The creation of the page is more or less an admission of guilt because of its need to manufacture “messages in support of Prawit, news reports in favour of the ruling junta, and video clips defending Prawit against allegations.” The syrupy propaganda reckons the dumpy general is “a reliable man who has been trusted by the armed forces for over five decades, and also a former commander well loved by his colleagues and ‘brothers’ in the Army.” No recommendation at all! But is does suggest that the Army is at work creating the page.





The next 20 years of royalist repression I

4 12 2016

Many would have considered the military dictatorship’s trumpeted 20 year plan for Thailand to be something that would fade, especially once the dictatorship and its junta were gone. Even The Dictator has implied, several times, that the implementation of the “plan” was up to future governments.

This was a manipulation of truth and intention. The junta is planning 20 years of royalist and military repression.

In an editorial at the Bangkok Post, the reality is explained. It refers to a “know-it-all team … writing a two-decade national strategy for all future governments to follow.” It continues:

Immediately after a discussion with the [General] Prayut Chan-o-cha government [they mean the junta] on the strategy on Tuesday, Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan [the military’s puppet], who leads [carries out the junta’s demands] the drafting of the strategy, delivered a warning that any future governments failing to adhere to the national strategy will be punishable under the current constitution [we assume the draft constitution]. His threatening message is a disservice to the country.

With considerable understatement, the editorial states that a “strategy that dictates how the nation should be run in the next two decades does not bode well.”

As the Post points out Meechai’s declaration “contradicts the earlier affirmation from Gen Prayut that the strategy would be changeable.”

We continue to be amazed that the media believes The Dictator. He is not a purveyor of any truths. Rather, his job is to destroy the “Thaksin regime” and prevent any elected government ever being able to actually rule Thailand.

To protect the the royalist elite’s ownership of Thailand, the military dictatorship knows it will require generational change. Anti-democrats support this forensic neuralyation of the population. (They know that it can be done, having been a part of the royal renaissance under the late king.)

Rather than rejecting the military dictatorship and its fascist ideas about a royalist reich, the Post editorial mumbles about “flexibility” and “change.”

It does observe the regression Thailand has had under the fascist royalists and the military boot:

The constitution brings the country back to the ruling system we used many decades ago. The regime’s strategy, therefore, cannot afford to freeze the future of Thailand by restricting changes. Thailand could risk falling into an outdated and obsolete state if future governments are bound to follow the strategy without flexibility.

More daringly, it states that “[c]riticisms and suggestions that come from the Pheu Thai Party and other observers are not biased and should be heeded.” This “plan,” it is said, “will be a path to disaster that could cause damage to the country.”

“Damage to the country” is not something that bothers the military dictatorship because they define “the country” as the interests, power, control and wealth of a small royalist elite. The rest of the country it meant to obediently serve this elite.nazis

Ignoring this, the editorial mumbles about “public participation” in developing the plan.

We are not sure why this is considered feasible or reasonable. After all, no aspect of anything the military junta has done has involved public participation. For the junta, the public is meant to be automatons, positively responding to junta demands and requirements.

When the editorial states that the “Thai people cannot afford to have a national strategy that will determine their future during the next two decades without being aware in advance of how it will look like,” it is ignoring the junta’s despotic record.

It babbles about liberal notions of “participation” ignoring the truth that this is a fascist state that is being embedded. Only the pure and ideologically sound may “participate” by cheering and rewarding the military junta.








%d bloggers like this: