30 May 2011
The state enterprise EGAT is back on coercing its activities on villagers around the country without recourse to consultation and local participation. In a latest case of brutality in Udorn Thani province, 15 villagers and students protesting by sitting on their land were arrested on 27 May 2011, cameras destroyed and people physically assaulted. They remain in prison on charges of obstructing the operations of authorities.
13 May 2011
I am sure many have noticed that Sanam Luang has been closed for more than a year, surrounding by high corrugated iron fences? The truth is coming out now. Last time I was in Thailand a few months back one could see through earth and bricks being moved by army trucks and earth moving equipment at night time moving back and forth, from south to north; activities tightly confined and controlled by the military.
30 Apr 2011
There is a lot of talk about “fascism”, or a late modern expression “neo-fascism”; a word which carries loaded connotation in reference to an extreme right-wing politics. However, it is rarely used in the everyday language of resistance in Thailand; as Surachai Sae Dan told me, “fascism” was a historical moment in Thailand which some of us experienced in the post-war years. In particular we can consider the implications of Sarit’s coup of 1958 supported by the royalist/amaat regime which wanted to regain influence and power through the monarchy.
22 Apr 2011
“Can you see the moon? Can you see it seen...” (Playwright) Gertrude Stein, A Circular Play The lack of ethical, balanced and objective reporting by certain Bangkok-based foreign and Thai journalists1 is a continuing dilemma for the pro-democracy movement since post-2006 coup. INGOs are not much better (e.g. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and now the International Crisis Group [ICG]). Indeed ICG Update Briefing Report (No.121, 11 April 2011) entitled “Thailand: The calm before the storm” makes many errors and false assumptions that it seems to me that researchers are not keeping their ears close to the real ground.
5 Apr 2011
Accepting the status quo, while at the same time claiming to fight against it, comes with some contradictions for UDD/Phue Thai Party. This will not appease all factions of the red shirts. Despite rhetoric of resistance and lots of emotive and expressive language at mass gatherings, there is little indication of a combined longer term vision or even of an ideology on which to achieve democracy. Neither has there been any intellectual discussion about what form that “democracy” should take, other than an assumption that it must come from the ballot box; that it must be built on the aspirations of the majority electorate. But an election under the current “rules of the game” established post 19 September 2006 can at best only be a means of redistributing political and economic benefits and in establishing new power sharing arrangements.
14 Mar 2011
The case of Khun “Pla” (ปลา), a freelance media writer, arrested by police handing out information on 112 at the UDD rally on Saturday needs to be highlighted, not for the case itself (though that is important) but the manner in which she was arrested. Depressingly, she was handed over to the police by seven rude UDD guards (three were actually police hired as UDD guards) who then took her to the police station between 6-7 hours until after the demonstration finished and then released.
13 Mar 2011
It appears that most so-called “softer head” (หัวอ่อน) hard-core leaders on the run since last year are returning back home accepting a new compact with the amaat regime which they took a stand against since events following 19 September 2006. This compact was enabled through the “electoral” UDD group, involving no doubt some interesting conversations with various stakeholders both at home and, importantly, abroad, and of course certain higher powers.
29 Jan 2011
As heard among many red shirts: “We are ready and waiting for the word”, ready for bringing about regime change through a democracy “revolution” (การปฏิวัติ), inspired by the recent events in Tunisia. The problem to most red shirts is that there are few real options remaining in the current repressive situation created by the governing regime. A “democratic revolution” is a mass movement which wishes to replace undemocratic and unelected regime with a democratic system of governance.
23 Dec 2010
…we did not elect this government; the poor have been left out for four years; we have to put up with the power this government seized from the people. Today we must rise up and fight for our rights that have been taken away from us; this is to ask for democracy that can help people to be able to ‘open their eyes and their mouths’ and to know that their rights and their votes are important…1