My piece for Thai Enquirer:

Something that the current democracy movement likes to pride itself on is the fact that “everyone is a protest leader” — a mass movement without a head.

Or, at least, that was what the organizers of the Free Youth movement wanted to say when they launched the “RT Movement,” along with a new hammer and sickle logo. The movement, they proclaimed, would have “no core leaders.” 

Never mind that the logo they launched was highly controversial, and many supporters pleaded with them to change course. Instead, the group doubled down with a full-throated defense of communism this week. Judging by the comments on Facebook, the reception was decidedly frosty.

Even Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, one of the most outspoken members of the allied United Front for Thammasat and Demonstration group, felt the need to publicly distance himself.

For a movement supposedly without any leaders, it sure looks like it is being catered towards the whims of a pretty small group. And it’s clear that the group is taking the entire movement on a pretty quixotic road that risks going wildly off track.

Click here for the full piece.

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks for another great article, Ken!

    While I agree with you that RT may be counterproductive in the current Thai context, I wouldn’t dismiss them entirely for several reasons.

    Communism has been used as a bogeyman by several Thai regimes to scare people into compliance. Maybe this is a good opportunity to call them out on it. Is there a real danger of a communist coup d’etat in Thailand? Seriously? More so than of another military coup? It’s one thing when a four year-old believed in the 1970s that communists were a type of ghosts who kidnapped children and took them to the woods. It’s another thing when adults believe the equivalent at the end of 2020.

    Members of communist parties have been sitting in the hemicycle of the European Parliament for decades. Some people don’t like it but there isn’t that much they can do about it. It’s a small group with 39 out of 705 MEPs, representing a relatively small electorate that votes for them. Their MEPs work on legislative files, contribute to debates and to the democratic processes within the Parliament just like everybody else. To think that there is a “danger” of them having 390 seats rather than 39 would be delusional.

    Some political views are bound to be held by a small minority but that doesn’t make them illegitimate. I see it as the triangle (the musical instrument) in an orchestra. It won’t carry the symphony but it makes the orchestra richer and more complete.

    Yes, I cringe when nationalists and the religious right take the floor in Parliament… but it’s the price of admission I’m willing to pay to live in a democracy. As someone who spent his childhood in “communist” Czechoslovakia, I often deeply disagree with the communists but I would march in protest if someone tried to ban them.

    IMHO, it is a bigger danger for democracy when sizeable parts of the electorate don’t feel their voice is being represented. And what better way to achieve that than by making a point of view ineffable.

    Good luck, and keep up the good work!

    Michal

    On Thu, Dec 17, 2020 at 4:40 AM Ken Lohatepanont wrote:

    > Ken Lohatepanont posted: ” My piece for Thai Enquirer: Something that the > current democracy movement likes to pride itself on is the fact that > “everyone is a protest leader” — a mass movement without a head. Or, at > least, that was what the organizers of the Free Youth movem” >

    1. Hi Michal, Just saw your comment. Thanks for your perspective, and I agree that I have no problem with communist sentiments being voiced. “Banning” any political opinion just leads to more pent-up dissent.

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