On 10 August 2020, Panusaya 'Rung' Sitthijirawattanakul stood on a stage at the Rangsit campus of Thammasat University and read the first declaration of the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration (UFTD), a new student-led protest group. The declaration, translated and disseminated by Prachatai here, contained a 10-point proposal for reform of the monarchy. Over the last year, this proposal catalyzed a series of powerful and sustained protests in which the limits of what can be said and what questions can be asked about the monarchy have been continuously challenged.
This has led to the UFTD and other protest leaders facing a string of criminal charges, including numerous accusations of violation of Article 112. On the one-year anniversary of the inaugural protest, the UFTD organized another protest and released another declaration, which can be read in the original Thai here.
United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration Declaration No. 2
The Capital-Military-Feudal Alliance and Politics After the Prayut Regime
To the People:
A military dictatorship led by Prayut Chan-ocha and comprised of all four branches of the armed services seized power on 22 May 2014. At first, the dictator Prayut and his cronies promised the people that they had come to solve problems and reform the political, economic and social structures for the people to be happy and the country to swiftly progress. But that is not what happened. The National Council for Peace and Order held on to power without any legitimacy. They have appointed sycophantic people without knowledge to important positions, even during this period of a grave pandemic when disease has spread to such a severe degree that there are no signs that it will smoothly subside. Nevertheless, the dictatorship of Prayut Chan-ocha has continued to seek out, apportion, and parcel out the spoils to the ruling class while leaving the people to grow ill and die according to their fate. The people have witnessed firsthand the deterioration of the economy, the deterioration of public health, the deterioration of the standards of public discussion, the deterioration of intellect, the deterioration of transportation, the deterioration of education, the deterioration of freedom of expression, the deterioration of faith in every institution, and the deterioration of humanity. Not even the security of the country has increased in line with the amount of budget that has been expended. No one feels at all safe or secure in any way. There is only an uneasy silence like that found in an abandoned city, broken down, with no one able to see it in any other way anymore.
The reason behind this deterioration is that the government of tyrants – with General Prayut Chan-ocha as the prime minister and [omitted due to a legal concern] – is preoccupied only with the preservation of their own power and the unrelentless search for profits for their cronies in the capital-military-feudal organs. They do not see the heads of the people. They do not govern in the service of the people as other governments do, and as should be done in a democracy. Even though the country is now facing the gravest pandemic to arise in history, the government of Prayut Chan-ocha and his cronies still seek to make a profit from the deaths of the people. They will not search for quality and diverse vaccines. They still arrogantly refuse international assistance, such as their refusal to enter the COVAX scheme early on, simply to increase the profit of vaccine procurement for capital and feudal interests. In addition, many peculiar decisions have been made. Such as bizarre measures which have caused people to die an economic death, intentionally create greater disparity, and allowed their capitalist cronies to be able to far outrun their competition. But they cannot find the real solution, which is medicine and vaccines. This has caused the pandemic to spread and dispossession to sprout everywhere like weeds. The people face hardship throughout the country and the government allows them to die in misery and destitution. Beds cannot be found. Medicine cannot be found. mRNA vaccines cannot be found. No funds for remedies remain.* There are only orders to shut down and the abuse of the authority to issue special laws, as is typical of tyrants. The people are abandoned and left to their fate. People are falling down in the streets and dying heart-numbingly painful deaths across the country. But the government instead facilitates the opportunity for the ruling class to be vaccinated with quality vaccines. The state of the economy has deteriorated since the coup and is now so low that it cannot rise again. This situation illustrates that in addition to lacking the ability to govern, the government of tyrants considers the profits of the ruling class to be more important than the lives of the people. If this is allowed to continue, in the near term, Thailand will encounter a disaster from which it cannot recover and will become a failed state. This can be witnessed in Bangkok [in Thai, Krungthep, the ‘city of angels’-trans.]. At present, it is not a beautiful city as if created by angels, but a desolate one as if toppled by angels.
This government of tyrants is a government of sleazy scammers disloyal to the people. It is also a murderous government that tortures and slaughters the people in cold blood, directly and indirectly. This murderous government has completely failed in governing the country and is nearing utter collapse. The dictator Prayut Chan-ocha, the dictator Prawit Wongsuwan, the dictator Anupong Paochinda, the high-ranking members of all four branches of the armed services who are shadow dictators, the former convicted drug dealer Thammanat Prompow, the bootlicking politicians such as Anutin Charnvirakul, and all the political parties and individuals who participate in the exercise of power in this sleazy scammer regime, must be accountable for all of the losses. They should avail themselves of a fragment of the people’s compassion and feel shame and exit power right now. The individuals, their families, and their cronies do not have to come back to show their faces to the people ever again. This must be done so that a new government can be established. This government must be established by democratic means, not dictatorial means, such as a coup. It must be a government by and for the people. It must not originate in the ruling or feudal class, or result from a decision made by King Vajiralongkorn or the Chakri dynasty. This has been the right of the people since the revolution of the People’s Party. In the coming era of politics after the Prayut regime, the following urgent tasks – which the current government has no will carry out – must be carried out:
- Control the situation of the pandemic to return to normalcy. The people in the nation must be able to access free, quality, and efficient testing, treatment and protection without having to waste time on convoluted registration and other procedures. Time has been wasted until it kills people – death has become a result of bureaucratic procedure.
- Resolve the economic crisis so that the people will be able to work and live their lives normally.
- Repeal the 2017 Constitution, which is a constitution that was drafted to serve as a channel for the tyrant Prayut Chan-ocha to preserve his own power and ensure his succession. Draft an entirely new constitution of the people.
- Push forward a reform of the structure of political institutions. The military, the judiciary, the monarchy and other institutions must be reformed so that the people will have rights and freedom and the country will be a democracy.
- Return human dignity to the people now!
Brothers and sisters, never has Thailand been faced with such a massive danger. There is only one path by which the country can escape from danger this time: drive the tyrants out of power. Driving out the tyrants this time is a struggle that will be inscribed in history. Success can only be attained with the power of the people. May all the brothers and sisters, from every group, join together to drive out these tyrants through various methods. Do not allow the murderous government to oppress and persecute and slaughter Thai people as they please. To bureaucrats in various ministries, departments, and units: cease working and oppose any orders you receive from this murderous government. To police, military, volunteers and other armed civil servants: do not use your weapons or move forces and weapons to intercept, thwart, suppress, assault, or slaughter the people. To capital and business: cease supporting this tyrannical government financially and via other means. To do so is a form of investment bound to fail and it will soon turn out to be a waste of your capital. To the international community: join by following and supporting the Thai people’s struggle.
Only a struggle of the people can liberate the oppressed from this tyrannical regime. May all of the brothers and sisters, from every group, be prepared to join together to struggle on the path of transformation until all of the tyrants are forced out.
This country, Thailand, will be fully democratic. One day, the people will once again be human, and will no longer be the dust under anyone’s feet. The people will be victorious.
Down with feudalism! Long live the people!
*The part about the mRNA vaccines and the remedy funds may contain factual inaccuracies. Prachatai English decided to published them the way they are in order to archive its original content.