[Marxism] Thailand: Smells like a coup, tastes like a coup, looks like a coup

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed May 21 20:08:52 MDT 2014

On 5/21/14 9:46 PM, Michael Smith wrote:
> Let the record show that I saw it coming. A good ten minutes ago.

Michael, there are 1500 Marxmail subscribers and probably 5 times as 
many others who read the archives on a daily basis. You really need to 
consider whether it is useful to write jibes such as this. Surely you 
are capable of doing a little bit of research to come up with some 
relevant data that will help us understand Thai politics better.

This, in any case, is the conclusion to a long piece I wrote on 1/31/2014:


I don’t want to leave the impression that I am a partisan of the “yellow 
shirts”. As was the case with my post on the Ukraine, my main interest 
is in highlighting the complexities of the struggle. In the world of 
schematic Marxism, you always end up with all of the good guys on one 
side of the barricade and all the bad guys on the other.

Thailand, like the Ukraine, suffers from a deficit of class 
consciousness. In a way, both societies are victims of the collapse of 
official Marxism. In Thailand, Marxism meant Maoism. Most of the 
activists who emerged in the 1970s were attracted to Maoism and some 
went so far as to join guerrilla detachments in the countryside. The 
failure of that movement left many activists in a quandary as to how to 
move the struggle forward. When Thaksin came along with promises (and 
intent) to change Thai society, they jumped on board. Whether or not 
that change went to the heart of class relations became a secondary 

In the Ukraine, activists made headlines by toppling a Lenin statue. In 
all of the protests over the country’s desperate attempts to avoid the 
consequence of neoliberal assaults, the solutions have revolved around 
more neoliberalism—either EU or Kremlin in nature. It is up to the 
anarchists mainly to draw class distinctions.

Taking the long term view, the Thai left has the same mission that we 
all do, namely to resurrect Marxism and develop a party that can fight 
for social transformation. That might sound utopian, but I don’t know of 
any other solution that is worth fighting for.

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