The Dictator in campaign mode

28 08 2016

As we have said several times, it has been no secret that the military junta wants to retain power.

The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha has long lied that he has no interest in remaining premier. Such declaimers have been a political ruse, to allow for others to “soften up” the country (along with the deep repression of political opponents) for continued military rule, with Prayuth transitioning from junta premier to a “civilianized” regime with him as unelected premier following a military arranged and run “election” under “rules” established by the junta.

The “rules” were the military’s charter that is still being modified to support The Dictator and the junta following the “referendum.”

One of the tasks includes finishing off the Shinawatra clan and the Puea Thai Party, using politicized “independent” agencies such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and the judiciary.

“Newer” tasks for the junta is to arrange for “public” support (or at least neutralize much of the actual and potential opposition).

This involves having tame media and “academics” essentially saying that The Dictator is “popular” or “better” than alternative premiers and, again, “softening up” the citizenry to the “inevitability” of continuing military rule under the constitution’s semi-elected regime.

One example of an “academic” in support of military dictatorship is Khien Theerawit, who reckons that unelected premiers are far superior to the elected variety. He’s been criticized as a turncoat, but Khien has supported the yellow and anti-democratic elements since 2004 or 2005. He’s remembered as a democratic activist in the 1970s, but this is a misrepresentation. He was a Maoist and pro-China activist who only supported democratic politics as a means to gaining support for China and Maoism.

An example of the media softening up is The Nation. Just in the past couple of days it has had several stories supportive of Prayuth for Dictator-Prime Minister and for military dominance of “electoral” politics.

One article wrote uncritically of the long history of military rule. The article makes military dominance almost a piece of Thai culture: “Thai democracy has long featured political parties that are either involved with the military or serve as military nominees, so the birth of a new one has not raised any eyebrows.”

Another article refers to The Dictator as “popular.” The suggestion is that all existing political parties (except Puea Thai) are keen to join a military dominated regime. No surprises there. It has only been Puea Thai that was able to break the tossed salad model that is Thai political “parties” dominated by gangsters and sycophants of local tyrants.

Then, of course, there is The Dictator’s own ambitions being advertised. Prayuth has “offered” to “continue serving as government leader after the next election…”. He craves and relishes power, so the “offer” is merely his post-referendum “coming out.”

Prayuth and his supporters seem to think that the future is set, their way.

Red shirts condemned, yellow shirts praised

26 01 2011

There’s and interesting story in the Bangkok Post that says a lot about the context of Thai politics.

Democrat Party MP Attaporn Ponlaboot has broken ranks with the official regime line and has publicly supported the yellow-shirted demonstration. Attaporn has said that the People’s Alliance for Democracy has “a constitutional right and they had the freedom to promote their cause.”

He cautions them that their protest might lead to “war with Cambodia,” but that seems not a problem for yellow-shirt supporters. His worry is that such a clash would provide “ill-intentioned people opportunities to create unrest or generate unplanned benefits for the Thaksin [Shinawatra] cause.”

Just in case people were missing his message, Attaporn “accused red-shirt leaders of exploiting their supporters in a desperate bid to achieve their outdated, hidden political agenda.” Of course, this accusation could not be leveled at the lovable yellow-shirted war mongers….

Further, Attaporn accused red shirts as being led by people who are  “outdated leftists” out to attack the monarchy. He seems to associate red shirts with Maoism.

PPT thinks this is tripe, but if it wasn’t, then one might want to ask if jingoistic monarchism isn’t even more “outdated,” having origins well before the alleged “leftism” of red shirts.

When the yellow shirts are being touted as a major threat to Abhisit Vejjajiva and his government, Attaporn turns to attack the red shirts. Obviously, Attaporn is one of quite a few in the Democrat Party who respect and align with the PAD, recognizing that the yellow ones did a heck of a lot to get the Democrat Party into power.

The problem for Attaporn and others like him, is that the regime’s backers are suspicious of yellow shirts for some of the same reasons that they hate the red shirts. The elite and royalists hate the idea of any political mobilization where they fear they are not in control. So when the yellow ones are working for obviously elite interests, they are welcomed. When there is another form of mobilization, the elite worries and sometimes panics.

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