Friday, May 23, 2014

A Coup in Thailand?: Bangkok Rising (video)

Look, mom, I'm in a coup! (
(VICE) For almost a decade, Buddhist Thailand has been trapped in a bloody conflict between Red Shirt supporters and Yellow Shirt opponents of the billionaire-tycoon-turned-politician Thaksin Shinawatra (and the subsequent Thai PM, his sister Yingluck Shinawatra).

Ousted Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra
During his time as prime minister, Thaksin improved life for the poor and the working class.

But his autocratic tendencies and crony capitalism led his opponents, mainly made up of conservative royalists and the upper middle class, to rise up and overthrow him.

Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006 for alleged abuse of power and corruption. Since then Thaksin's opponents -- widely known as the Yellow Shirts -- and his avid supporters, the Red Shirts, have taken turns instigating mass street protests to topple their opponents.

CNN/CIA coverage has been superficial
While attempting to clear her brother's name of corruption charges in November 2013, Thaksin's sister and Thailand's latest PM [ousted by the court two weeks ago] Yingluck Shinawatra triggered a new Yellow Shirt uprising that has so far killed a reported 23 people and injured hundreds.

Yingluck Shinawatra tried to diffuse the protests by dissolving Thailand's parliament and calling for new elections. But the Yellow Shirts, determined to overthrow her, began a shutdown of Bangkok on January 13th, bringing the Thai capital to a standstill.

Huh, what coup? This has happened before.
Since the election was annulled on March 31st, Red Shirts are mobilizing and intensifying their threats of starting a civil war.

VICE News was on the ground to capture Thailand's state of emergency as the long-running battle for the country is coming to a head.

There are other people, ethnic minorities like these beautiful mountain village girls from the north, often seen selling trinkets in Chiang Mai, Thailand's second-city (Max_Drukpa/flickr).
We're Red Shirts, but we're tourists.
Who's right, who's wrong? It is easy to support the revolutionary Red Shirts. But the person they entrusted their future to may have been, could likely have been, a corrupt billionaire. He made all the right did Obama. These "populist" leaders say the right things. They don't follow through. They sell out their followers. Then the Red Shirts succeeded again by electing the fabulous Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of ousted and exiled PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

A People's Coup 2013 (
But Yellow Shirts accused her of continuing her brother's populist/corrupt policies. Was she great, or was she a hypocrite? Should Thaksin been allowed back into the country, or had he offended the establishment too much? How could he, a billionaire tycoon, be the "people's hope"? He was the one making all the right promises, offering help to the poor. This is what so many would-be dictators begin by saying. Even if they are sincere, clandestine forces come in to convert or assassinate them. (Why is explained in John Perkin's Confessions of an Economic Hitman).
Surely the Shinawatras were a better alternative to the status quo -- but an even better option is what Red Shirts are actually fighting for: a citizens' committee to rule the country. The military will not stand for it. The military-industrial complex (government police+private corporations = military+industry) have a plan for that kind of talk: Game over, time out, military coup, police state, "I'm taking my ball and going home," as Cartman would put it.

People's Coup vs. Military Coup 
Thitinan Pongsudhirak (The Nation, Dec. 13, 2013)
Bangkok, Thailand protest rally for the people, Red Shirts vs. Yellow Shirts (AP).
Woman sells statues, talismans (Ska09/flickr)
Never has Thai politics degenerated so quickly from uneasy accommodation to outright insurrection.

It started a month ago [Nov. 2013] with broad-based opposition to an expansive amnesty legislation that would have absolved former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from convictions for corruption and abuse of power.

It ended up as a civilian putsch by anti-Thaksin forces, led by the Democrat Party and its erstwhile heavyweight MP Suthep Thaugsuban. On an anti-corruption crusade and intent on uprooting what they call the “Thaksin Regime,” these forces incorporate the royalist “Yellow Shirts” and other anti-Thaksin groups from recent years who constitute one side of Thailand’s polarization.

Whether they succeed in removing the government of PM Yingluck Shinawatra, Mr. Thaksin’s younger sister, from power and installing their own government will determine the direction of Thai democracy. More

No comments: