Red Shirts and the Old Order in Thailand pt2
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Red Shirts and the Old Order in Thailand pt2

October 12, 2019


I think the images tell a part of the story that’s an important
part of the story but what you said and what you showed seems to juxtaposed seems to show there is this elite in Bangkok and there is poor, dispossessed people struggling people ” seems to have invaded Bangkok” much to the consteration of the elite. Now is that the underlying politics what this represented or is there
some issue as well? Well that is one of the issues for sure but that has a history, but there is a longer and deeper political history of political exclusion and social and economic exclusion. Majority of the people who were at the demonstration site and who are the part of UDD, united
front for democracy against dictatorship are people from the north east and northern parts of Thailand, the rural areas some also from the central, east and southern part of Thailand again rural.
Many urban poor from peri urban areas in Bangkok and those and those were able to take off work and join the protests who feel that just for too long their issues have been
ignored that they’ve been looked down upon they have been considered stupid, ignorant
uneducated because they don’t have finer things of life, they don’t have access to the same economic
opportunities and social opportunities that the upper classes and even the
middle classes have and you know to add insult to injury their choice of a political leader was overthrown that’s Thaksin Shinawatra by an establishment who could not stomach the vision of capitalism
and the model of capitalism that he was bringing and I think it’s important to keep in mind
that the UDD the united front of democracy against dictatorship is a mixed bag. Majority of the members are the voting base of the Puea Thai party . The Puea Thai party is a third avtar of of the Thai Rak Party which is Thaksin Shinawatra’s party. Now Thaksin Shinawatra is in exile. but the voters still say that he is our man you know and first there was a coup and you try to get rid
of it and there was an actual coup. 2006 which is publicised everywhere. and after that there were elections and the man they, the party whom they were trying to get out from the coup, his parthy won a resounding victory. They tried to get there were elections for there were some basis for the allegation of election fraud. you know those kinds of complaints that were brought to the electoral process so the thai rak thai party which became the people’s
power party which subsequently had another problem and which became Puea Thai Party and so on and and even that was through a a sort of constitutional coup then remove from power and the democrat party Thai Rak Thai party was dissolved and after that
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People’s Power Party was dissolved. which was then reincarnated same electoral base, same leadership sort of realigning themselves, many people were banned from running for elections for a few years those politicians were still allowed to be in politics formed for Puea Thai party. Now these leaders, along with a number of other leaders were not necessarily from these political parties came together with a mass base from all over
the country to form what is called united front for
democracy against dictatorship the UDD. The overthrow of the earlier political formulation what you call constitutional coup in one hand was also on the other resulted in what we call yellow shirt have taken over Bangkok earlier apparently with the implicit support of the military as well as the ruling elite. The king, who has been one of the major figures in Thai Politics, seem also have given indirect blessing. In some sense, it is the part, seems to be part of the longer struggle of the monarchy and fuedal elements, the military dictatorship
which have been I think there were thirteen military coups in Thailand, so all of it in one side and new capitalist forces, Thaksin being obviously one of them and also those people who may you said have been marginalised. Will that be a correct understanding of what the current conflict is all about? Yes I think so. I think you got all these elements of these large theatres it’s theater that keeps getting reenacted. in thailand because there is a very large establishment. some people call it establishment, some people call it aristocracy. the UDD gave it a term Amach
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in Thai which actually could either be interpreted
as aristrocracy or establishment and they call themselves as Pri which means commoners and by using this terminology what they are
invoking is actually a pretty long standing historical division between those who have access through political social networks and of course also economic networks. o all capital sort of in a sense but all capital mixed with business mixed with Mandarin class and so on which keeps expanding and which certainly needs a labour and underclass and a whole agrarian class to keep it in
business. and when Thaksin came to power, he didn’t he was not actually a commoner. He came from the police he had access he had tremendous social access and political access. So he was able to ammass his wealth by using the old boy connections as well. but what he did was he was a new face of capitalism, a new model of capitalism so by that point of view yes he challenged and said yes I am a commoner. Although the man is so wealthy, sixty three percent
of his assets in thailand doesn’t prevent him from doing whatever he
wants to So he is a different type of a commoner I guess. It’s interestig enough, the Thailand in that sense has been a monarchy. the monarchy has not been a bystander. a constitutional monarchy has always weilded it’s power behind the throne behind the scenes sometimes, sometimes openly it’s interesting that the western media has really not focused on what those in some
sense a republican or democratic upsurge, the way for instance they focus on the elections in Iran, the problems of Iran and so on. Thailand seems to have a very different treat from the media. when you think of this? well I think the part of it might be the laws and the rules that governs and allows people in Thailand to express their views in Thailand and on Thailand. I think one of the Australian broadcasting corporations they did I think it was ABC they did actually a they did a very interesting
program called Thailand the untold story. the story of the challenges and the controversy
aroud succession and there was a huge hue and cry
among the government basically the government the government itself, not even the palace.
the government came out and said it is absolutely wrong, the ABC should not be airing such a thing that Australian
prime I think it’s Australian embassy, the Australina diplomat was smacked on the wrist. Australian embassy said that we can’t
control what a media channel does but that program is now not available try looking it up and there have been media groups, there have been press, Thai press
as well as the international press who tried to raise this issue saying we really need to raise this issue openly. what is the nature of this upsurge. What do you think the long-term
implications of this? Do you think it will go back to lid being put on all this and continue for some more time or do you think there is, it is potentially shaping up to be a conflict which you finally see changing with the case of Thai politics or society with new capitalist forces perhaps coming with but the old order in some sense perhps been forced to concede power? No, I don’t think so I think this problem is here
to stay it’s going to simmer and it’s going to errupt. If the longstanding inequalities,
political exclusions, social and economic exclusions are not dealt with in a just and fair way. thanks Shal I hope that we can continue this next time in India. We can look back and see in the meanwhile.
you can look back and see what is happening in the meanwhile.

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