In Thailand, A New Kind of Protest

When protests morph into Community Collaborative Efforts great changes will be manifested to solve and remedy the many ills facing us.
Many thanks to the many People on Earth that are aware of the global matrix,  Tony Cartalucci and his Land Destroyer reports for keeping the global dialogue open. ~Ron

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete – BUCKY FULLER

Protesters put down placards and pick up pragmatism as they begin solving the problems created and/or neglected by the regime they oppose. 

April 1, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – ATN) – Since late October, 2013, protesters across Thailand have taken to the streets, occupied rally sites, seized government buildings and made their grievances known to the world. They stand in opposition of the regime of Thaksin Shinawatra – a Wall Street-backed billionaire autocrat, convicted criminal, accused mass murderer, and fugitive who is openly running the country from abroad via his nepotist appointed proxy, his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.

Not entirely unlike other protests seen unfolding around the world, large mobilizations have periodically flooded the streets of Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok, at times attracting over a million protesters.

Image: One protest leader, Buddha Issara, traded in placards for pragmatism, purchasing a rice mill and operating it at his rally site in northern Bangkok. The mill is processing rice from destitute, desperate farmers and creating an ad hoc farm-to-city market to put cash from consumers directly into the hands of farmers as opposed to the corrupt middlemen and regime warehouses overflowing with unsold, rancid rice. If Thailand’s political future is decided by actions rather than words, anti-regime protesters like Buddha Issara and his followers are well on their way to victory. Others would be wise to follow his sage example not just in Thailand, but around the world. Find more images via ASTV’s

However, unlike many protests, particularly those promoted heavily by the Western media, including the so-called “Arab Spring” and the recent “Euromaidan” protests in Ukraine later found out to have been led by Neo-Nazis and ultra-nationalist parties with Hitleresque names like the “Fatherland Party,” hollow slogans such as “democracy” and “freedom” in Thailand are overshadowed by more specific, better articulated, and enumerated demands.

Also unlike many protests promoted by the West where regime change in favor of a pro-Western client is the one and only true objective, protesters in Thailand have begun turning their placards in for pragmatism to solve the problems that have brought them out into the streets to begin with. Rather than empower others to speak and act on their behalf, they have elected instead to circumvent the dysfunctional electoral process and empower themselves through a series of direct action campaigns.

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2 comments on “In Thailand, A New Kind of Protest
  1. RonMamita says:


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    Mind Body Soul


  2. RonMamita says:

    Thailand: Thaksin’s Red Shirts and the Ongoing Violence
    Posted 2 April 2014

    The mood of the anti-Thaksin protestors is different. There is no talk of burning down Bangkok; no talk of “rivers of blood” in the streets; there is only talk of enacting much needed reforms before elections can be held.

    On Friday March 21, the Courts ruled the February 2 election invalid as the Constitution requires the election to be held in one day. With the Democrat Party boycotting the election, it was impossible to meet the constitutional requirement. In fact, prior to the elections, the Election Commission asked the proxy government to postpone the elections – which Thaksin refused to do. The February 2 election saw less than 50% of eligible voters take part compared to over 67% in 2011. Even in the proxy government strongholds, the turnout was less than 2011. Many of those who voted, voted no or caused their ballot to be invalidated. The election was an expensive farce. Now it appears there is a chance of exacting reforms before scheduling new elections, providing Thaksin agrees, which is highly doubtful. Instead, rhetoric has taken a turn toward violence exploiting the sharp divisions in Thailand.

    Time Magazine ran a story on January 16, 2014 revealing, “…members of the Red Shirts…are readying a cache of arms in case the 46 year old premier (Yingluck) is forced from office by either military or judicial intervention.” The article also quoted an unnamed Red Shirt as saying, “There are strong anti-coup and anti-court sentiments among the Red Shirt mavericks who are familiar and experienced with weapon use.” [5]

    The Economist in its January 25, 2014 issue highlighted the possibility of a break-up of Thailand, reporting, “Thus most Red Shirts in the north and northeast now contemplate – indeed they seem to be preparing for – a political separation from Bangkok and the south. Some can barely wait.” [6]

    At the same meeting where the Red Shirts cheered the murder of two five year old girls, members of the proxy caretaker government appeared on stage making violent threats against the country. Nattawut Saikua, caretaker deputy minister of commerce endorsed setting up a caretaker government “in exile” in the north or northeast and announced the Red Shirt movement was set to go to 100% combat mode. [7]

    Those present also proposed that Thaksin’s proxy government commit itself to civil disobedience against “unjust” rulings and decisions by independent agencies, i.e. the court system.[8] This is a unique concept whereby a government announces its decision not to adhere to any court decision not favorable to itself.

    Additional threats to the military and courts were made by the proxy caretaker minister of the interior, Charupong Ruangsuwan, who said ten million guns were legally owned by Thai people, “These guns are for self defense. If anyone underestimates the power of the people, you’ll know about it. I believe that we must be prepared to enter a decisive situation….In today’s fight, lives are at stake. It is not the kind of fight we watch on cinemas. In this fight when people die, it is for real. But I am confident we won’t die and we will win.”[9] His comments were interpreted by many on both sides of the divide as an endorsement of secession, just as the Economist predicted in January.

    Following this meeting, Red Shirt leaders expressed their support of using violence to “protect democracy.” In Chiang Mai, Red Shirt leaders threatened violence against anybody who blew a whistle, signifying opposition to the proxy government. [10] Also in Chiang Mai, patrons of night clubs were threatened with violence if the club employed musicians who appeared on any of the stages at the Bangkok demonstrations. In 2009, these same Red Shirts prevented a gay pride HIV/AIDS awareness march from marching. The marchers were herded into an enclosed area while Red Shirts threw rocks and verbally abused the marchers. We have to keep in mind all this is being done to “protect democracy.”

    The Red Shirt’s reputation as stalwart defenders of democracy was blown apart on Saturday March 15 when it was suddenly announced that Red Shirts chairwoman Thida Tawornseth had resigned as leader and Jatuporn Promphan was “appointed” – not elected – to replace her. Democracy is defined as “rule by the governed.” Thus, basic democracy must involve the governed in determining the direction and policy of the government or organization. Democracy requires a well educated population. Thailand’s education system fails to provide the tools necessary for critical thinking. There are no institutions in Thailand which practice democracy, such as democratic labor unions. Thida’s resignation and Jatuporn’s ascension were not the result of democracy, but more characteristic of top-down decision-making. The Red Shirts are not a grassroots organization; it is controlled by a few at the top absent any policy-making direction from the bottom.

    Many believe Thaksin Shinawatra is the shot caller of the Red Shirts. His vice-like grip on Thai politics is well known, most particularly with the current proxy caretaker government. For example, the 2011 election campaign posters of Phuea Thai Party promised, “Thaksin Thinks; Phuea Thai Acts.” In addition, stories have been written by Forbes Magazine, New York Times, Der Spiegel amongst others which describe how he continues to micro-manage the proxy government led by his youngest sister, Yingluck. [12] No one elected him in 2011 because he was not on the ballot. He was not on the ballot because he is a fugitive from the Thai judicial system. A government which is tightly controlled by a fugitive from justice is not democratic.

    Thaksin reportedly even tries to micro-manage the government’s response to the protests. On February 17, 2014, Wassayos Ngamkhom reported in the Bangkok Post that on at least two occasions Thaksin, from Dubai, ordered the arrest of protest leader Suthep who was eating lunch at a restaurant near the Democracy Monument and ordered the dispersal of a demonstration site. Thaksin was not concerned there could be clashes and “losses.” The second order reported by Wassayos was to attack the NSPRT (Network of Students and People to Reform Thailand) stage near the Government House. Police were summoned to the office of Chalerm, the head of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), to carry out the orders from the man in Dubai. The Police leadership balked at carrying out these orders out of concern that large-scale violence would break out. Although the man in Dubai was reportedly not concerned about “losses,” the Police leadership apparently was. [13]

    Bombings and shootings directed at individuals and institutions continue. Armed gunmen have come out to protect demonstrators on three occasions after demonstrators had come under attack, once by the police and twice by the 2014 model of the Black Shirts. It is this deterrent which has frustrated efforts to cause so much violence the military would have to intervene. An overwhelming number of Thai people do not want the military to intervene, although there may be some who want an intervention in order to justify civil war.

    Failing to draw the military into the fray, gunmen are now launching grenades at court buildings and last week fired several grenades at the home of a member of the Constitution Court on the eve of its decision to invalidate the 2011 election. Considering the Red Shirt demand for the government to commit to civil disobedience against court actions, it appears civil disobedience is the carrot and grenades are the stick. Kraisak Choonhavan, former Thai senator, argues the “People’s Courts” are under attack due to their effectiveness and that is why “they are loathed by corrupt politicians, arrogant civil servants and avaricious corporate despoilers of our environment.” [14]

    Arguably the appropriate term to describe the political nature of Thaksin’s proxy government, would be “dictatorship of the majority.” The proxy government did not receive the majority of votes in the 2011 election; they were forced to recruit smaller parties to form a parliamentary majority. The proxy Pheua Thai Party has ignored long standing protocols and rules directing the operation of Parliament since taking the reins. It cuts off debate prematurely. Arbitrarily cutting off debate in violation of the operating rules and practices of parliament was one of the grounds two attempts to amend the Constitution were ruled unconstitutional. It is arrogance in the practice of “dictatorship of the majority” that has brought unfavorable court rulings against the government.

    The most virulent attacks on the courts have been directed at the National Anti Corruption Commission (NACC). It has been investigating the rice pledging scheme enacted by this government in 2011. The policy was supposed to pay rice farmers 40-50% over market price for their rice harvest. To date, this scheme has caused losses to the government of between 10-15 billion dollars because the government has not been able to sell the rice at those inflated prices. The government has falsified sales on a government to government basis with China and it still refuses to release all documents relating to sales, citing business secrecy reasons. The money has gone somewhere, but not to the rice farmers who are now coming into their seventh month without payment for rice already delivered. It is safe to say a substantial number of Pheua Thai votes in 2011 came from rice farmers excited about Thaksin’s promise of a windfall.

    The NACC warned the government when the bill was passed in 2011 about the necessity of transparency in the program which was duly ignored by the “dictatorship of the majority.”

    In September 2013, the opposition Democrat Party filed a no-confidence motion against the proxy prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The motion was based on the apparent corruption and losses related to the rice pledging scheme. Again, “dictatorship of the majority” intervened. She was unwilling to answer questions and unwilling to provide needed government documents about the scheme because she held a majority.

    Now she has been charged with dereliction of duty regarding the rice scheme. She named herself chairwoman of the rice pledging committee so she should be on top of all related matters. Instead, when charged with dereliction of duty by the NACC, she pleaded for more time to respond. She and her supporters accused the NACC with being unfair.

    She has had plenty of time and opportunity to prepare. She chose not to. She was not transparent about the rice scheme during the no-confidence debate. She didn’t need to because she enjoyed protection by the “dictatorship of the majority.” However, the judicial system is not parliament.
    Pro-Thaksin “red shirts” assault a monk who allegedly condemned their mob in passing.Violence against those who merely speak up against the means, methods, and mission of the red shirts is one of their infamous trademarks.
    Image: Pro-Thaksin “red shirts” assault a monk who allegedly condemned their mob in passing.Violence against those who merely speak up against the means, methods, and mission of the red shirts is one of their infamous trademarks.

    That is apparently why there are increasing numbers of middle of the night bombings directed at court buildings and a group of Red Shirts are blockading the building housing the NACC. This week, a group from the Red Shirt blockade beat up a Buddhist monk who admonished them about beating up another person. Thaksin’s supporters, known or unknown to him, are beating up Buddhist monks, killing children, and terrorizing areas of Bangkok with late night bombings in what appears to be a repeat of the lead-up to the death and destruction of the 2010 protests.

    Is Thailand suffering simply so Thaksin Shinawatra can get his money back and have his convictions and more than 25 corruption charges dismissed? A virulent anti-democracy movement, the Red Shirts, masquerades as “protectors of democracy.” As options run out for Thaksin, a change in Red Shirt leadership appears out of nowhere with no input from grassroots Red Shirts. The new leader, Jatuporn, still faces charges of terrorism relating to his role in the 2010 violence. Along with his appointment, caretaker government ministers and deputy ministers speak openly about “combat mode” and secession. Even the proxy caretaker prime minister got into the act melodramatically proclaiming, “I’m also the defense minister meaning I’m like a soldier who has to do his duty until the last minute. A soldier has to keep the last stronghold and die on the battlefield. I will die in the democratic battlefield.”[15]

    The proxy government’s corruption has caught up with it, rendering the party virtually powerless. Now that the parliamentary path is closed, it appears supporters of the man in Dubai are becoming more violent and dangerous. The leadership of the anti-government protests announced they will call off their protests if the Red Shirts start killing protestors. The numbers who are willing to fight and die in order that Thaksin get his money back and all charges and conviction dropped are diminishing over time.

    Thailand deserves much better. Choosing between two sets of elites benefits no one. The idea of reform before elections is now more likely than not. It seems to depend on how much divisiveness and bloodshed the Red Shirts employ. It would be a great benefit if the sensible Red Shirts start thinking about how low income people nationwide can participate on an equal basis in this reform effort. Thailand has a short window of opportunity to address a myriad of serious problems. It is time to recognize the serious problem that has most of the population existing outside of the decision-making process in the Kingdom.



    [2].Human Rights Watch, “Descent Into Chaos: Thailand’s 2010 Protests and Government Crackdown”, May 2011, pp 43-46

    [3].IBID. pp. 43-46

    [4].IBID. p. 5




    [8].IBID. Nation Multimedia Group







    [15]. -democratic-battlefield-ying-3022804.html


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