Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Thousands Protest for Democratic Reforms in Thailand

Protests in Thailand, set off by the student movement, are directed at the military-backed government and powerful monarchy. These protests are part of a string of global uprisings erupting around the world as the current crisis of capitalism deepens.

Samuel Karlin

October 18, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Image: Gemunu Amarasinghe/AP

A ban on pro-democracy gatherings in Thailand was not enough to stop tens of thousands of people from protesting in Bangkok. On Thursday night, October 15, mass demonstrations in the country’s capital sent the message that the oppressed classes of Thailand are sick of being ruled by an alliance between Thailand’s monarchy and military.

Thailand has never had a government where workers are given a significant voice, however, the second half of the 2010s were a particularly undemocratic stage in the country’s history. A military coup in 2014 violently ended pro-democracy uprisings through the use of martial law and censorship. Though the military regime technically ended in 2019, it essentially remains in power. The country’s current leader, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, was the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army and was originally appointed Prime Minister as part of the military coup. He was reelected in 2019 through a sham vote which seventy-seven political parties have contested.

  In the past, the monarchy, though undemocratic, was somewhat separate from the country’s government. However, the most recent monarch has grown increasingly closer to the military. Since becoming king in 2016 following the death of his father, Maha Vajiralongkorn has used the military to violently shut down any dissent against the monarchy.

The latest development in the country’s fight against the right-wing regime began on October 14 when protesters blocked and heckled a royal motorcade. In response, the military declared an extreme state of emergency, forbidding gatherings of more than five people. The military has also banned the publication or online posting of anything that could “Threaten national security.” This backfired.

Led by student organizers, protesters are calling for the resignation of the prime minister and for constitutional reforms and limits on the power of the monarchy. These protests were violently attacked by riot police and 20 people were arrested. Human rights lawyer, Anon Nampa, activist, Prasit Krutharot, and student leader, Parit Chiwarak were all arrested, denied bail, and are being taken to prison. People in Thailand are also reporting that they do not have access to change.org where there is a petition calling for democratic reforms.

Thailand is one of many countries where the working classes are now demanding freedom. The forces of capitalism and imperialism have long pillaged the global south for its resources and labor. Authoritarian leaders who support the interests of the bourgeoisie in imperialist countries have violently shut down powerful left movements that go against their interests in the past. As the current crisis exposes the contradictions of capitalism, more popular movements are springing up. What is happening in Thailand is also happening in Chile, Indonesia, and Argentina, to name a few. Socialists, particularly those in imperialist countries, must be ready to amplify the international fight against capitalism in all its forms.

Facebook Twitter Share

Samuel Karlin

Samuel is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about U.S. imperialism and international class struggle.

Asia-Pacific

China’s Rise, ‘Diminished Dependency,’ and Imperialism in Times of World Disorder

In this broad-ranging interview, originally published in LINKS, Trotskyist Fraction member Esteban Mercatante discusses how recent global shifts in processes of capital accumulation have contributed to China’s rise, the new (and old) mechanisms big powers use to plunder the Global South, and its implications for anti-imperialist and working-class struggles today.

Esteban Mercatante

September 22, 2023

Strike for Wages at Chevron-Australia Could Hit 5 Percent of Global Gas Production

Chevron workers in Western Australia are escalating a strike at two of the world's largest gas facilities. They are demanding wage rises and better working conditions.

Arthur Nicola

September 14, 2023

The Roots of the Rebellion at Foxconn

Jenny Chan is a researcher and professor at the Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. She is co-author of the book Dying for an iPhone. She spoke with La Izquerda Diario about the causes of the rebellion by workers at the Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, China.

Josefina L. Martínez

December 7, 2022
Participants in a memorial ceremony lay flowers to pay respect to a deceased 23-year-old worker in front of the SPC headquarters in Seoul, Thursday. She died in an accident at a baking factory in Pyeongtaek affiliated with SPC on Saturday.

How Workers and Socialists are Responding to a Workplace Death at One of South Korea’s Largest Food Manufacturers

Following a workplace death at SPC group, one of the largest food manufacturers in South Korea, a consumer boycott quickly gained traction. Organized workers and revolutionary socialists are playing a role in this struggle.

Samuel Karlin

November 12, 2022

MOST RECENT

The Organic Crisis in 2024: This Year’s Election Is a Battle for the Hearts and Minds of U.S. Workers

The battle between Trump and Biden is being shaped by a crisis of the political regime, requiring the intervention of both the judiciary and the union bureaucracy. The battle for the presidency is a battle for the working class and a battle over which approach to imperialism is best for competing with China and reestablishing US hegemony. As usual, the Democrats are taking up the cudgel of democratic rights in order to rally disaffected voters.

Sybil Davis

February 23, 2024

The Tide Is Turning: New Yorkers Are Speaking Out for Palestinian Liberation

The Jewish community of New York City has long been loyal to Zionism. But attitudes are shifting rapidly, and many are taking to the streets for Palestinian liberation 

Ana Orozco

February 23, 2024

The United States Is Trapped in the Middle East

As a result of Israel’s offensive on Gaza, the United States is again becoming deeply entrenched in the Middle East. This is a humiliating blow to President Biden, who promised to reassert U.S. imperialism by moving away from direct involvement in the region.

Samuel Karlin

February 22, 2024

With Rafah in the Crosshairs, the Working Class Can Stop the Genocide in Gaza

As Israel prepares an invasion of Rafah, workers’ organizations around the world must take action before it's too late.

James Dennis Hoff

February 21, 2024