I know little about the situation in Thailand but I think this contribution from ‘harrier’ is worth reading:
Today the Etonian Prime minister of Thailand has talked of “a minority within
the Red Shirts” who want mayhem. Does this sound familiar?
In fact it is not so different to the previous line pushed hard by the
international media, that they are the ‘troops’ of the ousted billionaire,
Thaksin. The implication of both is that the majority of the Red shirts are
sheep, being manipulated by leaders of one sort or another.
Unfortunately much of European leftist description of what is happening – that
is where there is any at all – is on similar lines. It is because of a tendency
to ahistorical ‘tick-box’ politics which at its worst – as in some Libcom
arguments makes invidious arguments like it’s not as ‘genuine’ struggle as
industrial militancy in China and Bangladesh. This is unfair to both kinds of
struggle and reveals a terrible Immodesty, as if we were entitled to be a
ratings agency of class struggles.
And whatever else, it is a class struggle in Thailand, against an elitist
elite, given away by one yellow shirt comment that the red shirst were
uneducated peasants, how could their vote count as equal to mine( and in this
instance to not be ahistorical the demand for elections is not
necessarily ‘reformist’. There are elections and elections.)
But whatever the initial demands the direct confrontation of the last two
months, things have gone beyond that.
I’d always thought it was a given, that ‘political consciousness’ developed
most of all in the process of struggle and the tactics of this struggle are
themselves must make that all the more likely. This is Reclaim the Streets and
Climate Camp in the City on a mass scale. And with a longevity that has
confounded the elite.
And it does not come out of nothing. One Lib com correspondent gave this
account of the background.
“Political movements amongst the poor have been around for decades…Thaksin’s
party alone was a fusion of a number of parties itself and a coalition
government including several parties that had strong grass roots based records.
The Thai socialist movement vehemently opposed to Thaksin when in power seem to
be supporting the reds. Former communist guerrillas who fought in the jungle in
the 60’s-80s are supporting them. The idea that it’s a bunch of personality-
worshipping dupes is exactly the propaganda the opponents want you to believe,
that poor people can’t have sophisticated views.”
And those views are self-educating by the day. Things will never be the same
again for the people who are there now in red shirts in Bangkok.
Its significance is not lost on the SE Asian region neither in Malaysia nor
Indonesia. There’s an awareness that some kind of clear defeat of the Red
shirts would be a disaster as in a communique from the Malaysian Socialists. I
think it would be a diaster everywhere, a victory for fatalism.