Updated: Same old yellow-shirted “academics”

30 01 2014

More on the tired and those who pose as “academics” but who are simplistic ideologues for royalist, yellow-shirted causes at the Bangkok Post where they have formed yet another group with a name that fools nobody:

A group of 194 academics, former cabinet ministers, community leaders, business figures, civil servants, members of the media and writers and artists have set up a network to push for reform through peaceful means.

Prominent academic [sic.] Thirayuth Boonmi yesterday announced the formation of the Network of Servants for Reform through Peaceful Means.

We know that Thirayudh thinks that the only problem for Thailand is Thaksin Shinawatra. It is that simple for him. He has long lived on his reputation as an “activist”, 40 years ago, and publishes books that are usually a bunch of pretty incoherent “thoughts.”

Other “members” of the so-called “network” are reported to include “former Bank of Thailand governor and former finance minister MR [joined at the hip to the junta] Pridiyathorn Devakula, former Siam Commercial Bank president Khunying Jada Wattanasiritham, archaeologist Srisak Vanliphodom and former public health minister Mongkol Na Songkhla.” Pridiyathorn and Srisak are long-standing anti-Thaksin activists. Jada headed the king’s bank.

Others are of the same ilk: Rapee Sakrik, rabid yellow-shirt ideologue Chai-Anan Samudavanija, “media guru” Somkiat Onwimon, and a bunch of singers and artists, all with long yellow-shirt connections.

Thirayuth, comes up with the obvious:

Thailand has been plagued with corruption, political crises, social disparity and injustice…. The education system is inefficient and media organisations use freedom of expression irresponsibly, which has contributed to social divisions….

Well, perhaps the latter isn’t the obvious, but suggests a chilling willingness for control and re-education. This lot have long had opportunities to address such issues, but they hardly seemed to worry about them until the “Thaksin revolution” which attempted to drag Thailand into the modern world.

Thirayuth says: “Unlimited greed and arbitrary power have led the country into an absolute catastrophe…”. He adds: “The last thing which has already started to collapse is morality and ethics as killings and violence now take place on the streets but many people appear to be indifferent, which is very worrying…”.

As Thongchai Winichakul long ago pointed out, these people promote a royalist notion of morality that damns all politicians as the fount of all of these problems. Not the conservative elite or the military or the police and Ministry of Interior. Not the feudal ideology the imbues most institutions. Not the monarchy and its anti-democratic ideology and not rapacious Sino-Thai capitalists, including those at the palace.

When “[a]cademic” and junta constitution boss Meechai Ruchupan said “he threw his support behind the move,” you know that this group is fake. No wonder there is no mention of elections. The slogan should be: Reform now! Change the rules to our rule! Maybe have an election!

The “Thaksin revolution” really did shake up the elite.

Update: Actually, we were wrong in our comment on Meechai. He has  been reported as encouraging people to vote. Why? He wants the anti-democrats to vote no. He explains that voters should:

… show their disapproval of the government rather than refusing to go to the polls….

He said social media campaigns have been launched suggesting that if the voter turnout is less than 50%, Sunday’s election will become null and void.

Mr Meechai said this is a misunderstanding because even if the turnout is only 10%, the poll is still legally valid.

Whether the election is made invalid does not depend on the number of voters. but on whether or not it can be held nationwide on a fixed day, he explained.

The caretaker government and the Election Commission (EC) must know this but it appears they have still not discussed the matter seriously. If the poll cannot take place nationwide on Sunday, the government and the EC must take responsibility and they could both risk having criminal and civil suits being levelled against them, Mr Meechai said.

If there are many no-shows at the poll, the outcome of the election could be interpreted in a way that suggests that 100% or nearly 100% of voters support the government, Mr Meechai said.

But those who disagree with the government could tick the “vote no” box to show their disapproval.

You get the picture.

Updated: Reform by the elite and for the elite

11 07 2010

Update: New Mandala is trying to put together alternative profiles of the people involved in the reform panels. Worth a look.

Much of the media has included analysis and reports on the formation and make-up of the so-called reform panels headed by Prawase Wasi and Anand Panyarachun. PPT commented here. The Nation had a useful article a couple of days ago.

While Anand and Prawase as the heads of the National Reform Committee and the Reform Assembly promised a “plan for a better future for the country,” critics pointed out that the “handpicked and appointed” members was claimed to “come from different backgrounds with a vast range of expertise,” there was very limited representation from groups outside the established elite.

For example, yellow-shirt ideologue Chai-Anan Samudavanija was just one of several prominent People’s Alliance for Democracy supporter appointed, along with poet Naovarat Pongpaiboon, who has composed odes to PAD. When it came to representation from “critics,” this came down to well-know figures like political economist Narong Phetprasert, retired academic Nidhi Eowsriwong, monk Phra Paisal Wisalo, historian Srisak Vallibhodhama, former student activist Seksan Prasertkul, and sociologist MR Akin Rabhibatana.

None of these people can be seen to represent the poor or disadvantaged in society. Nor are they uncompromised. For example, Akin has worked for many years at the Crown Property Bureau. Narong has a background in the racist “neo-nationalist” movement of the 1990s.

Anand and Prawase will “gather and analyse facts and information” while also inviting “people to offer their opinions about reforms.” They claim the focus will be on “the problem of social inequality.” PPT suggests that the best way to view these committees are as being an opportunity for the ruling elite – itself not entirely united – to sort out what it is prepared to throw to the masses in order to re-establish its desired state of “social harmony.”

The first meeting of Anand’s panel was greeted by protesters from a group calling itself “Network of Social Activists for Democracy.” They read out a “statement heavily attacking the Anand panel. The statement said that the committee was set up to “buy time” and to act as a government tool in distracting the public attention away from the recent political unrest, in which many people were killed and a thousand others were injured. The statement said participation in the government-initiated reform efforts was tantamount to supporting the government’s legitimacy in the use of force against red-shirt protesters.”

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