Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/625/9543

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 May 2010

Thailand's government orders bloody crackdown on protesters

A TWO-month stand-off between Thailand's government and thousands of opposition 'Red Shirt' protesters encamped in the commercial district of Bangkok appears to be heading for a bloody showdown.

Dave Carr

Many deaths have been reported and hundreds injured following the escalation of violence on 13 May when red shirt renegade general Khattiya Sawasdipol, 'Commander Red', was shot and fatally wounded by a sniper round.

Thai soldiers have surrounded the red shirts' camp and have ominously declared the area a "live firing zone". The government has tried to cut off water and electricity to the camp to dislodge the protesters who are demanding the resignation of the prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva and fresh parliamentary elections.

The PM has also declared a state of emergency in 22 provinces across the country in order to stop more red shirt demonstrators heading to the capital.

Tourism, an important source of Thailand's revenue, is being hard hit by the current political crisis. This is on top of the economy contracting by 3.5% last year due to the world recession.

Thaksin Shinawatra

Many of the protesters support former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, the billionaire tycoon and former owner of Manchester City FC, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

Although a rich capitalist, Thaksin, following his election in 2001, introduced some populist anti-poverty and healthcare programmes aimed at the impoverished rural majority.

At first, multinational cor-porations and local industrialists had regarded Thaksin as the best defender of the 'free market' in Thailand.

But apprehension among some national capitalists and elite figures grew when his government slid into authoritarianism and cronyism, and their business interests were ignored. Thai royalists' unhappiness also hinged on Thaksin's alleged disrespect of the king.

The conflicts between them and Thaksin became greater when Thaksin and his family were implicated in a telecommunications scandal in 2006.

Military coup

Protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) - the 'Yellow Shirts' - in 2006 resulted in a mil-itary coup on 19 September that year which overthrew Thaksin's government while he was abroad.

Thaksin was convicted in absentia in 2008 for tax evasion and sen-tenced to two years in prison. Thaksin is alleged to have bankrolled the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, aka the Red Shirts.

The PAD or yellow shirts were led by other tycoons, conservative army chiefs and monarchists and supported by the wealthy middle and upper classes.

When a pro-Thaksin People's Power Party (PPP) coalition won the post-coup 2007 general election the PAD resumed its protests and laid siege to government buildings and the international airport, costing the economy up to $4 billion in lost revenues.

The protests, after some bloodshed, only ended when the constitutional court in December 2008 dissolved the PPP, banned its leaders from politics, and a number of PPP MPs and others from their coalition were pressured into defecting to the Democrat Party and elected Abhisit Vejjajiva as premier.

Although the red shirt movement draws its main support from the rural poor, the recent anti-government protests "have brought together farmers from the rural north east, Bankok's urban working classes and democracy activists to call for the resignation of Abhisit Vejjajiva" (Financial Times 9/4/10).

The same article refers to the deep social discontent in Thailand, exposing the country's social faultlines. "A class of farmers and industrial workers empowered by higher incomes and better education is clamouring for a greater say in how the country is run, challenging the traditional ruling elite."

Likewise the International Herald Tribune reported: "Thailand is convulsed by a bitter struggle between the nation's elite and its disenfranchised poor, played out in protests that have paralyzed Bangkok for weeks" (10/5/10).

Whether the army will succeed in cowering the protests or spark a wider protest movement at this stage is unclear.

However, the task facing the urban and rural workers is the urgent need to build a mass party of the working class and poor farmers with socialist policies, to unite the oppressed class for common struggle against the incapacity of capitalism in Thailand to assure them the basics of a decent life.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 19 May 2010:

Action needed to save our services


Workplace news

Vote Roger Bannister in the Unison general secretary election

British Airways: Another intolerable court judgment


Youth fight for jobs

Youth need job creation, not job slaughter


Socialist Party election analysis

Time for the fight of our lives


Socialist Party news and analysis

Building Coventry Socialist Party after the election

Support for socialists Ian Page and Chris Flood

Packed out London meeting looks to fight against cuts

Fast news


International socialist news and analysis

Initiative for a week of European-wide protests

Italy: ControCorrente socialists support CWI

Thailand's government orders bloody crackdown on protesters

Kazakhstan: "Thanks comrades for support"

USA: Putting forward a Socialist Alternative in Seattle


Marxist analysis: history

The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution by Harold Isaacs


Obituary

Peter Hadden - an inspiring life for socialism


Socialist Party workplace news

Communication Workers Union conference: Hands off Royal Mail!

Defending the postal service

Bus workers gear up for action

RMT ballots Tube Lines workers

National Shop Stewards Network conference: International rally planned


 

Home   |   The Socialist 19 May 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Thailand:

triangleThailand plagued by military junta and downturn

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Thailand after the coup

triangleThailand: Battles erupt on the streets of Bangkok

triangleThailand in grip of political deadlock

triangleBurma cyclone disaster: Wealth and privilege put before aid

Farmers:

triangleWhat would a socialist food industry look like?

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTamil Nadu mass protests against state repression

triangleIndia: struggle against land grab in Pune

Democracy:

triangleOutrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

triangleThe Socialist inbox

International

International

21/2/18

Russia

Russia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail

21/2/18

South Africa

South Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism

14/2/18

France

France: rallies in support of oppressed Kurdish people

14/2/18

Unemployed

Big political strike against Finnish government's attack on unemployed

14/2/18

Brazil

Brazil: Lula conviction confirmed

14/2/18

South Africa

Cape Town drought

7/2/18

China

May's silence is a green light for Chinese repression

7/2/18

Tamil Solidarity

Protesters denounce oppressive Sri Lankan regime

7/2/18

Sudan

Sudan: Mohamed Satti released - global solidarity campaign gets results!

31/1/18

Kurds

Stop the war on the Kurds

31/1/18

Austria

Vienna: 50,000 march against racism and austerity

31/1/18

Kurds

Stop the war on the Kurds

24/1/18

Palestine

Punishment of Tamimi family awakens wave of international solidarity

17/1/18

Hong Kong

Stop repression in Hong Kong and China

17/1/18

Tunisia

Tunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999