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

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 23 07:18:03 MDT 2014

On 5/22/14 11:09 PM, Michael Smith via Marxism wrote:
> It's a … Thaidan!

Well, not exactly. The Euromaidan politicians (as opposed to ordinary 
Ukrainians who were sick and tired of corruption, police brutality, 
etc.) favored deeper penetration of the economy by means of integration 
into the EU. But in Thailand, the section of the ruling class that was 
hostile to Thaksin were much more like Yanukovych, opposing foreign 
investments. Thaksin was deeply committed to neoliberalism and 
"globalization". As I pointed out in my article on Thailand, the 
"anti-imperialist" left is by no means unified on supporting the red 
shirt agenda. In fact, Global Research, one of Putin's biggest fans, has 
been vehement in its opposition to Thaksin:


The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in front of which Thaksin 
Shinawatra spent his last evening as Thailand’s prime minister, and 
whose corporate-financier interests it serves has backed Shinawatra for 
nearly a decade, has recently published an op-ed titled, “Can Thailand 
Break Its Coup Addiction?”

Despite Thailand being run openly by convicted criminal, mass murder, 
and fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, who was not elected, not on the ballot, 
and is not even in the country, the CFR’s piece implies that the current 
regime is a legitimate “parliamentary democracy,” and that coups are 
outdated, unnecessary, and undermine the country’s “democracy.” Should 
the CFR have its way, Thaksin Shinawatra would not only be allowed to 
continue running the country via his nepotist-appointed sister, current 
prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra – already a breathtaking display of 
banana republic-style corruption – but eventually return both to 
Thailand and to power, to repay the West for the last decade of stalwart 
support it has provided him.


Also, that mouthpiece of the American ruling class that can be relied 
upon for its steadfast opposition to poor people everywhere has a 
position much closer to Giles Ji Ungpakorn than me:

Thomas Fuller, NY Times, May 22 2014:

The coup was seen as a victory for the elites in Thailand who have grown 
disillusioned with popular democracy and have sought for years to 
diminish the electoral power of Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime 
minister who commands support in the rural north. Unable to win 
elections, the opposition has instead called for an appointed prime 
minister and pleaded with the military for months to step in.

As soldiers spread out throughout Bangkok on Thursday, the generals 
issued a series of announcements, declaring most of the constitution 
“terminated,” banning gatherings of more than five people, imposing a 
curfew, and shutting schools.

The coup was at least the 12th military takeover since Thailand 
abandoned the absolute monarchy in 1932. But unlike many of the previous 
coups that involved infighting among generals, Thursday’s takeover had 
as subtext the political awakening among rural Thais who have supported 
Thaksin and benefited from patronage and policies such as universal 
health care and microloans.

More information about the Marxism mailing list