Thailand

Thailand junta's backward, anti-democratic draft constitution

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

April 19, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Thailand's military junta’s new draft constitution is a pathetic, backward, anti-democratic and infantile document.

Just like the rantings of generalissimo Prayut Chan-ocha (pictured above), it is full of tub-thumping and shouting about the “duties” and “responsibilities” of Thai people to grovel to “Nation, Religion and King”. It is infantile in this because it is written by conservative idiots who think that by bullying the population into conforming to elite beliefs they can actually change peoples’ attitudes.

The infantilism gets worse when we get to part 2 of the constitution, which is headed; “Good Political Leaders and Good Representatives”. It doesn’t take much brain power to guess what the junta’s definition of “good” might be. High up on the list is loyalty to “Nation, Religion and King” and not being corrupt … blah blah blah. The whole thing sounds like some moral tale designed for a bad kindergarten.

Thailand: Yingluck’s impeachment -- a fraudulent 'legal' attack by an illegal junta

Yingluck Shinawatra leaves the final impeachment hearing at parliament in Bangkok. Photograph: Vichan Poti/Demotix/Corbis.

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

January 28, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Let us be clear. The impeachment motion passed by the puppet parliament on January 23 against former Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, submitted to the military junta’s appointed Assembly by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, over her role in the rice price support scheme for farmers, is a total farce and a red herring. It is a deliberate part of the anti-reforms designed to destroy democracy. It has nothing to do with the rice scheme.

Yingluck is accused of “allowing corruption to take place” in this rice scheme and of presiding over financial losses to the government.

Thailand's official religion is not Buddhism but 'Monarchy'

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

December 5, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As far as the Thai ruling class is concerned, the official religion of the country, which they are forever trying to ram down our throats, is not Buddhism but “Monarchy”.

For historical and philosophical reasons Buddhism has not been the main authoritarian tool of the Thai ruling class. Kings and military dictators were always wary of building up rivals if they promoted the power of the monks. Since the late 1950s the military sought to control the monks and make sure that they were mainly apolitical. This is unlike in Burma or Laos, where the Buddhist monks were politicised by the nationalist movements.

Thai Buddhism is also a religion based on the actions of private individuals who try to amass merit. Thai monks do not usually give public sermons in order to control the beliefs of the population. Buddhism is also practiced in a manner which is strongly laced with animistic beliefs in spirits and ancient superstitions or it is mixed with Hinduism.

Malaysia: 'Thailand's dictator is NOT welcome! Democracy NOW for Thailand!'

Joint statement by the Socialist Party of Malaysia and others (see below)

Links international journal of Socialist Renewal

December 1, 2014 -- We, the undersigned organisations, condemn the Najib-led Malaysian government for receiving the official visit of military coup leader from Thailand, Prayuth Chan-ocha. The reception for Prayuth is an act that recognises and lends legitimacy to the illegal government in Thailand that grabbed power through a military coup and the suppression of democracy since May this year.

Prayuth Chan-ocha came into power last May, when he staged a military coup against a democratically elected government. Martial law was declared, activists and dissidents were arrested and harassed by the coup apparatus, an undemocratic interim constitution was introduced, and Prayuth appointed himself as the prime minister of Thailand without popular approval through democratic elections. Freedom of expression has been suppressed by the repressive National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) led by Prayuth.

Thailand: Elections postponed, anti-reformists show their true colours

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

October 18, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- While the dictator Prayut (or Prayuth) Chan-ocha (pictured above) was huddled with the Chinese and Japanese representatives in Italy, he had previously told reporters not to “speculate” when elections would be held again in Thailand. Many analysts are predicting that elections will not take place at least until 2016, thus rubbishing the initial promises of the junta to hold elections next year.

Meanwhile a panel of anti-reformist junta lackeys were pontificating about the legacy of the 14th October 1973 uprising against the military and how this would “influence” the present anti-reform process.

This academic meeting was not banned by the junta, unlike pro-democracy seminars.

Asia: ASEAN integration and its impact on labour

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), to the assembly of the Union Presidents Against Contractualization, Century Park Hotel, Manila, September 10, 2014.

* * *

1. There are many regional agreements in Asia-Pacific that impact on regional economic integration and trade policies. One of these agreements centered on the integration of ASEAN economies in Southeast Asia composed of the ten countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

Thailand: Supremo Prayut appoints himself prime minister

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

August 21, 2014 -- Ugly Truth Thailand -- The self-appointment of dictator of Thailand, Prayut Chan-ocha, as prime minister, by his hand-picked military parliament, was an unsurprising non-event. Prayut did not even bother to attend and the so-called “vote” was unanimous.

Prayut has set himself up as Thailand’s “Supremo”, placing himself in charge of all important posts. This harks back to the dark old days of the military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s. As acclaimed writer Wat Wanyangkoon has said: “The junta is detritus left over from the Cold War.”

Prayut’s junta is both brutal and stupid. It is brutal in its crackdown on pro-democracy activists, the use of lèse-majesté to jail its opponents, and the use of violence against detainees. It is stupid in its attempts to create an image that the coup has created “peace and happiness” among citizens. Prayut also loves to strut around barking orders in a pathetic quest to appear like some outdated “strongman”.

Thailand: The militarisation of society

A Thai journalist protests next to troops over concerns about freedom of speech. Photo by @redbamboo16 on Twitter.

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

June 29, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As the autocratic rule of Big Brother Generalissimo Prayut Chan-ocha trundles forward, we are seeing the militarisation of politics, economics and society.

All government ministries are controlled by military personnel. Civil servants who were in post before the coup are being replaced by those who are loyal lapdogs or cronies of the junta.

New executive board members have been appointed to state enterprises, with military men on every board and with Generalissimo Prayut as overall chair. Civilian cronies are carefully chosen from among the ranks of the whistle-blowing middle class mobs who hate democracy.

El "siglo de Asia" y la integración de la ASEAN: contradicciones y desafíos

Sonny Melencio.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3910.]

Por Sonny Melencio

22-06-2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Cuando viaje desde Manila hasta Australia, me compré en el aeropuerto un libro de bolsillo para leer en el avión. Fue la novela de Dan Brown titulada Infierno. Cuando la edición de tapa dura de este libro llegó a las librerías, en las Filipinas la gente se volvió loca con una pequeña parte de la novela que se refería a Manila como la "puerta del infierno".

Después de leer el libro, pensé que lo que la novela dice sobre Manila es verdad. Es la ciudad más densamente poblada de la tierra, con enormes atascos de tráfico, una contaminación sofocante, casas hechas de metal corrugado y cartones, comunidades que apestan y un horrible comercio sexual y tráfico de mujeres, jóvenes y niños.

Me acordé de la novela de Dan Brown hoy porque, a pesar del infierno que es actualmente Manila, nuestro gobierno habla de un paraíso que se construirá en las Filipinas durante este "siglo de Asia".

El siglo de Asia

The ‘Asian Century’ and ASEAN integration: contradictions and challenges (now with video)

Video from Green Left TV.

[The following talk was presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa-Philippines (Party of the Labouring Masses), during the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, Australia on June 7, 2014.]

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was travelling from Manila, coming here to Australia, I bought a copy of a pocketbook that I could read in the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel entitled Inferno. Actually, when the hardbound copy of this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel which referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.

After reading the book, it occurred to me that what the novel said about Manila was true. It was the most densely populated city on Earth, with huge traffic jams, suffocating pollution, houses made of corrugated metal and cardboards, communities reeking of stench, and horrifying sex trade and trafficking of women, girls and children.

I was reminded of Dan Brown’s novel today because, despite the inferno that is Manila now, our government is talking about a paradise that will be built in the Philippines during this "Asian Century".

The 'Asian Century"

Thailand: Growing resistance to coup smashes political myths

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

May 26, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The most striking thing about the latest coup d'etat in Thailand is the speed and size of the anti-coup protests. For the last three days, immediately following the coup, mass protests of ordinary people have simultaneously erupted in many areas of Bangkok but also in Chiangmai and other towns. This is history in the making.

(Updated May 28) Asia-Pacific socialists, progressive activists: 'No to another coup in Thailand!'

To add your group's name to this statement please email: int.psm@gmail.com, cc international@socialist-alliance.org

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

May 23, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal --We, the undersigned organisations, strongly condemn the latest coup d’état staged by Thai military under the leadership of Prayuth Chan-ocha.

The current coup, which took place almost eight years after 2006 coup, will do nothing to enhance democracy and social justice in Thailand, instead it will only tighten the grip of dictatorial rule and attempt to crush any democratic institution that exist. The army has already started its crackdown on media and the internet, and has arrested people who oppose the coup.

The coup is set to protect the interests of the section of Thai ruling class who want to reduce the democratic space in order to consolidate its power. The military junta in Thailand has no interest in bringing about free and fair elections to solve the political crisis, and certainly will not protect freedom of expression, which it sees as a threat to its rule.

Thailand: Smells like a coup, tastes like a coup, looks like a coup

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

May 20, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Today Thai army general Prayut Chanocha declared martial law without consulting the caretaker government or any other elected representatives. Troops took over all radio and TV stations and are positioned along major road intersections in Bangkok.

Despite the fact that he claimed that “this is not a coup”, Prayut’s actions smell, taste and look like a coup. This is from a man who has blood on his hands. Four years ago to the day Prayut oversaw the shooting down in the streets of almost 90 Red Shirt pro-democracy demonstrators. Before the elections in the following year he made public statements against the Pheu Thai Party. He had previously been a key figure in manoeuvring the (anti-)Democrat Party into an unelected government in 2008. He has never been brought to court for his crimes and was on the list of those who would be given total amnesty in Yingluck Shinawatra’s abortive amnesty bill.

El golpe judicial en Tailandia, un porrazo a la democracia

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3839. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

Por Giles Ji Ungpakorn

11/05/14 -- Sinpermiso.info -- El Tribunal Constitucional no electo, antidemocrático e ilegítimo, orquestó un golpe de Estado, derrocando a la primera ministra Yingluck Shinawatra[1], por un mero tecnicismo. Afirman que la primera ministra electa no tenía facultades para trasladar a un funcionario del gobierno[2].

Esto es un mero tecnicismo ya que ella está acusada por "abuso de poder" al haber designado a un pariente en un puesto vacante. Mientras que Yingluck ha sido acusada de esta ridícula "mala práctica", los militares golpistas y los políticos del partido Demócrata, que mataron a decenas de manifestantes  a favor de la democracia, quedan impunes.

Thailand: Judicial coup a blow to democracy

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

May 8, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The unelected, anti-democratic and illegitimate Constitutional Court has staged a coup d'état, overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluk Shinawatra on a mere technicality. It claims that the elected prime minister did not have the right to move a government official.

It is a mere technicality because she is accused of “abusing her power” to appoint an in-law to the vacant position. While Yingluk has been accused of this ridiculous “wrong doing”, the military coup makers and the Democrat Party politicians who killed scores of pro-democracy demonstrators enjoy impunity.

The actions of this court would be laughable if they were not so serious. The court has previously ruled against the right of an elected parliament to amend the military constitution so that all senators would be elected. It also ruled that the government cannot build a much-needed high-speed rail link. In that case the old fogies stated that “it would be better to build roads”. Apparently they have illusions that they are experts in all matters and have the right to run the country instead of the government.

Thailand: February 2 election has solved nothing; unity of democratic forces needed

Anti-democratic thugs opened fire on those wanting to vote.

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

February 3, 2014 -- Ugly Truth Thailand -- The February 2 general election cannot solve the Thai political crisis because those lined up against the government and the holding of democratic elections are fundamentally opposed to democracy.

The election was marred by violence from Democrat Party thugs who were determined to prevent the election taking place. Armed thugs fired automatic weapons into crowds of people who were expressing their wish to vote. These thugs have been enjoying total impunity for over a month while intimidating voters and candidates.

Thailand: Anti-democratic thugs unleash violence around Bangkok’s voting stations

Anti-democratic protesters attempt to disrupt pre-poll voting, January 26, 2013.

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

January 27, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- On January 26, the Democrat Party’s mad dogs unleashed violence around Bangkok’s voting stations. Voting stations throughout the country were supposed to be open for people to cast their votes in advance on the February 2 general election. Advanced voting is a required service since it is compulsory for people to cast their ballot.

In many areas of Bangkok, angry residents argued with the anti-democratic protesters. They also protested against local election commissioners who closed voting stations whether or not they were surrounded by Sutep Tuaksuban’s Democrat Party thugs. At some stations the thugs physically attacked citizens who wanted to vote. What happened on the day shows that significant sections of the Bangkok population are opposed to the Democrat Party’s attempts to wreck the election. This will only come as a surprise to those commentators who claim that the Thai crisis is a “rural vs Bangkok” dispute. At the last election almost half of the Bangkok electorate voted for Pheu Thai.

Thailand: Yingluck sleepwalks into the trap set by anti-democratic forces

Yingluck Shinawatra (centre).

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

December 21, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Pheu Thai government were pressurised into dissolving parliament by a nasty coalition of Sutep Tuaksuban’s Democrat Party, middle-class protesters, pro-military academics, conservative civil servants and NGO groups. This is the same coalition that supported the 2006 military coup.

Having now tasted blood, they want more. They are demanding that Yingluck resigns her position as caretaker prime minster, a role stipulated by the constitution. They want the election to be boycotted by opposition parties. They also want to postpone the general election, which is due in early February. They are justifying this by their dishonest claim to want to “reform” Thai politics before any new election.

Thailand: There is no 'crisis of succession'

 Ordinary Red Shirts struggle for democracy, dignity and social justice, while Thaksin and his political allies wage a very different campaign to regain the political influence they enjoyed before the 2006 coup d'état.

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

December 14, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The hypothesis that the present long-running unrest in Thailand is primarily caused by a “crisis of succession” assumes that the Thai monarch has real power and that he has been constantly intervening in politics. That is just not the case and the real cause of the crisis lies elsewhere.

Thailand does not have an absolute monarch or North Korean-style despot in his twilight years, with factions fighting over who will be the next ruler. The Thai absolute monarchy was overthrown in the 1932 revolution, and since then, power has been shared and disputed among the military and civilian elites and the top businesspeople. For much of the time between 1932 and the mid-1980s, the elites ruled by dictatorship. But this has become harder and harder to do ever since the mass uprising against the military in 1973.

Thailand: Round one to Yingluck government

For more on Thailand, click HERE.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

December 4, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A semblance of calm has returned to Bangkok as the royalist anti-democratic protesters were allowed to symbolically occupy Government House. They took pictures and then left. A temporary truce has occurred around the king’s birthday, December 5, since the royalists did not want to appear disrespectful to their “dear leader”.

The government also wants to show its loyalty by staging the usual ceremonies in a calm atmosphere. Thaksin Shinawatra, after all, is a royalist too.

But don’t be fooled. The aged king has no real power and he has never been brave enough to stick his neck out and do anything under his own initiative. He is the tool of the military and the elites. The real power is with the army.

So what is the score so far in the battle between the royalist conservatives and the elected government?

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