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Thailand: Red Shirts and the new cabinet

[For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.] 

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

August 11, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Most politicians in the Pheu Thai party no doubt believe that having Red Shirts in Yingluck Shinawatra's cabinet would create a “bad image”. This is true if you believe that a “good image” is one of doing absolutely nothing to solve the crisis of democracy and social justice in Thailand.

The new cabinet contains people like Chalerm Yubamrung, a thuggish politician who sums up the term “legal double standards” from when his son was charged with murdering a police officer in a pub brawl. He is also
suspected by some of having profited from drug dealing. This is a “good image” for the new government.

Thailand's election: A slap in the face for the military, Democrat Party and royalist elites

Thailand's new prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra.

"This election is only one step towards restoring democracy. It will take mass participation of the Red Shirts in order to strengthen and speed up the process."

[For more on Thailand and the Red Shirt movement, click HERE.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

July 4, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The results of Thailand's July 3 general election are a slap in the face for the dictatorship. They prove without any doubt that the majority of people have rejected the military, the Democrat Party and the royalist elites. Pheu Thai, the party closely allied to the Red Shirt movement, has won a clear majority. The result is all the more remarkable, given that the election was held under conditions of severe censorship and intimidation of the Red Shirt democracy movement by the military and the military-installed Democrat Party government of Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Why socialists in Thailand call for a vote for Thaksin's Pheu Thai Party

Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s sister, leads the Pheu Thai.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn, Turn Left Thailand

June 16, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Normally, no socialist should ever call for a vote for a capitalist party in any election. To do so would risk making the kind of mistakes that the Stalinists used to make when they adopted the Popular Front strategy, building alliances with the bourgeoisie and making anti-working class concessions. But it is my opinion, that in the July 3, 2011, general election in Thailand, socialists have no choice but to call for a vote for the Pheu Thai Party [also spelled Peua Thai Party]. Pheu Thai is a thoroughly capitalist party.

Thailand: Lèse majesté law cannot be reformed, it must be abolished

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

May 27, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The lèse majesté law [making it illegal to "insult" Thailand's royalty] cannot be reformed into a democratic law any more than a military dictatorship can be reformed or amended into a “democratic military dictatorship”. The lèse majesté law is fundamentally against the freedom of expression and Democracy. It cannot be reformed. It has to be abolished.

Thailand: Lèse majesté, the monarchy and the military

Giles Ji Ungpakorn.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Paper given to Pax et Bellum, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, University of Uppsala, Sweden

April 29, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- There is a common thread running through the political crisis in Thailand and the regional political crises that exploded earlier this year in the Middle East. In Thailand, Egypt, Tunisia and many other “developing nations”, societies had been rapidly urbanising and changing over the last 30-40 years. Yet the ruling elites and the power structures which dominatethese societies, have not changed. Different events triggered uprisings and struggles, but the underlying tensions remained the same. Another appalling common thread that links Thailand to the Middle East is the way in which ruling elites are prepared to use live ammunition against pro-democracy demonstrators in order to cling to power.

Thailand: Military makes threats against pro-democracy Red Shirts

Thousands of Red Shirts commemorate the April-May 2010 killings of pro-democracy protesters by military forces.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

April 12, 2011 -- Red Thai Socialist -- One year after Thailand's military gunned down nearly 90 pro-democracy civilians in Bangkok and in the run-up to the promised first election since the 2006 coup, the military have been very active in increasing the obstacles to a free and fair election. They are seriously worried about the outcome of this election.

Thailand: Why the lese majeste law is an abomination

Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul (`Da Torpedo').

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

March 3, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The lese majeste law (which forbids "insulting" the monarchy) in Thailand represents a gross attack on the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and academic freedom. It is a fundamental attack on democracy carried out by the military, the palace and the elites. The practical impact is that Thailand has struggled for years to achieve a fully developed democracy, a free press and internationally accepted academic standards in our universities.

Today, Da Torpedo, Red Eagle, Surachai Darnwattanan-nusorn (Sa-Darn) and many others are in prison in Thailand for merely expressing their beliefs in a peaceful way. In recent days arrest warrants have been issued for five more people and the police have a list of 30 more people who face arrest.

Thailand: Royalist right, ultra-nationalists want war with Cambodia

Made with Slideshow Embed Tool. Anti-war rally at Victory Monument, Bangkok, on February 7,2011. The more or less spontaneous protest was held between 5pm and 7pm.

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Thailand, South Korea: Solidarity with Egypt's struggle for democracy

February 1, 2011. In front of the Egyptian embassy, Bangkok. Made with Slideshow Embed Tool

On February 1, 2011, about 100 members of Thailand's mass democracy (Red Shirts) and student movements gathered outside the Egyptian embassy in Bangkok to send solidarity and support to the people of Egypt fighting to rid their country of the dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak. The protest was organised and supported by the Student Federation of Thailand (SFT) and member organisations, Thai Youth for Democracy, 24 June Group and other democratic networks.

Egyptians and Koreans stand with one voice to denounce the Mubarak regime

By Roddy Quines, Seoul

Thailand bans Giles Ji Ungpakorn's `Thailand's Crisis and the fight for Democracy'/วิกฤตการเมืองประชาธิปไตย เราจะโค่นอำมาตย์อย่า

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

January 18, 2011 -- After struggling to read my book for more than a year, the Thai police have finally banned Thailand's Crisis and the fight for Democracy. No one is allowed to import it. But I have nearly sold out! What is even more amusing is that there is a Thai version which is available on the internet to download for free.

Anyone who wants a copy of the Thai version can just e-mail me at, or read or download below.

You can also read excerpt's from Thailand's Crisis and the fight for Democracy at ("Behind Bangkok's war in southern Thailand") and ("Class and Politics in Thailand).

Thailand: 60,000 Red Shirt protesters bring Bangkok to a standstill

Red Shirt protest. Photo from twitpic page of thethaireport.

By Mong Palatino

January 11, 2011 -- Global Voices -- Red Shirt anti-government protesters in Thailand mobilised tens of thousands of their members in central Bangkok on January 9, 2011, as they continued to press their demand for more democratic reforms in government. Police estimated the crowd at 30,000 but rally organisers claimed they gathered 60,000 in the streets.

ก้าวต่อไปของเสื้อแดงใจ อึ๊งภากรณ์


ปัญหาสำคัญเฉพาะหน้าที่คนเสื้อแดงต้องร่วมกันวิเคราะห์ ร่วมกันคิด ในความเห็นผม มีห้าประเด็น ผมจะขอร่วมแสดงความคิดในเรื่องนี้...... ปัญหาเฉพาะหน้าคือ

Thailand: Challenges facing the Red Shirt movement today

On November 19, 2010, thousands of Red Shirts remembered those killed six months earlier. Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

[Read more about the democracy struggle in Thailand HERE.]

By Giles Ji Ungpakorn

December 1, 2010 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As we approach the end of 2010, the pro-democracy movement, the Red Shirts, is at a crossroads. On the other side, the military junta and the royalists have not even begun to solve the political crisis or to stabilise their power. Since the royalist PAD protests and the military coup in 2006, the junta and the royalists have not only destroyed democracy, they have also destroyed the legitimacy of the monarchy, the military and the judiciary in the eyes of millions of Thais.

Thailand: Six months on, emboldened Red Shirts raise new slogans; Interview with Sombat Boonngamanong

Sombat Boonngamangong (left), the leader of the Red Sunday group and long-time activist, has renewed the Red Shirts' campaign in public, such as this "red aerobics". Photo by Lee Yu Kyung.

By Lee Yu Kyung, Bangkok

Thailand: Red Shirts flood centre of Bangkok again

Ratchaprasong is a sea of Red Shirts again. Photos by Khun Kamberg CBN Press.

[Read more articles about Thailand HERE.]

By Peter Boyle, photos by CBN Press

November 19, 2010 – Thousands of supporters of the Thailand’s Red Shirt (the popular name for supporters of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship) movement once again turned Bangkok’s busy Ratchaprasong Intersection into a sea of red.

They turned out in their thousands (see video of the crowd posted by Richard Barrow to Twitter here) to mark six months since the Thai military bloodily attacked and dispersed a mass protest camp that occupied the area in April and May this year. More than 90 people were killed, thousands injured and hundreds or protesters are still imprisoned.

Thailand: Red Shirts plan another major rally

November 14 commemoration of the assassination of rebel general Khattiya Sawatdipho (popularly known as Seh Daeng) at Lumpini Park, Bangkok. Photo by "Klaus Crimson" (reprinted with permission).

By Peter Boyle

November 18, 2010 -- Supporters of Thailand’s opposition Red Shirt movement are preparing another major mobilisation, on November 19, 2010, to commemorate six months since the military repression of their mass protest camp in Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong Intersection.

The Red Shirts have being holding several build-up actions around the country including mass bike rides of red-shirted supporters in several cities and towns. And on Sunday November 14 some 1500 Red Shirt supporters rallied in front of the Rama VI statue Bangkok’s Lumpini Park to mark the assassination of rebel general Khattiya Sawatdipho (popularly known as Seh Daeng) six months ago as he gave an interview to a New York Times journalist in the Red Shirts protest camp at Ratchaprasong.

Thailand: Interview with Red Sunday leader Sombat Boonngamanong

Hundreds joined a bike ride for freedom in the historic city of Ayutthaya on October 3. Sombat Boonngamanong, garlanded, is on the red bicycle second from right. Photo by Ooi ThaiDelphi/CBN Press. Published with permission.

October 6, 2010 -- Sombat Boonngamanong, a cultural activist and NGO organiser, was not one of the central leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (popularly known as the Red Shirts) when their mass protest camp (at the Ratchaprasong intersection in the heart of Bangkok) was bloodily dispersed by the Thai military on May 19, 2010. Thousands were injured, 91 killed and hundreds have become political prisoners in this crackdown. But Sombat has since emerged as a popular figure in the dramatic Red Shirts' resurgence over the last month.

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