Thailand often joins a small list of ‘third world’ or ‘global south’ countries, along with Ethiopia and Afghanistan, that escaped the horrors of European colonisation. However, as with the aforementioned states, the claim is somewhat dubious. In reality, Siam was ‘all but’ colonised starting in the late 19th century and well into the 20th century.
For the past few weeks, there have been constant violent protests in the Din Daeng neighbourhood of Bangkok. Din Daeng is an extremely deprived area of the capital, particularly after strict lockdowns in the latest wave of the Covid pandemic were implemented with virtually no economic assistance. Since mid-august, predominantly young people have been fighting the police with improvised weapons like fireworks, small homemade bombs, slingshots and Molotov cocktails.
Every time I find a new leftist media outlet I always type Thailand in the search bar to see if there’s been any coverage. More often than not, there’s nothing, but on the rare occasion that Thailand does appear, it’s typically an article denouncing the Thai protest movement at large as a ‘colour revolution’. Often this claim is made with little to no explanation as to what a ‘colour revolution’ is in the opinion of the writers.
The purpose of the book was to expose how the plight of the rural Thai peasant in the 1950’s was a vestige rooted in the old feudal system, laying bare its horrors and its exploitative framework. Jit wrote this book as an antagonistic rebuttal against the revisionist history of the ruling classes taught to most Thai’s at the time (and still today), which typically depicts a utopian agrarian past, rather than the brutal exploitative reality.
We spoke to two senior Isaan activists, both graduates of the Dao Din student group. Pai from UNME of Anarchy and Nice from Dao Din about their beliefs, influences, tactics and the character of Isaan. We previously interviewed another Dao Din activist for some background information on the group.
In the 1930s, Thailand began a project of mass homogeneity based on western Euro-Fascism. This project was refined by the monarchy in the 1950s, leading to a reactionary consensus lasting a half-century. However, many elements in the recent protest movement, so far, fail to recognise their own deep-seated Euro-fascist tendencies when challenging the contemporary Thai state.
The Lèse-Majesté law, also known as Article 112 in Thailand, forbids any criticism of the monarchy in the kingdom under punishment of imprisonment. Even those far removed from the machinations of Thai politics are vaguely aware of this law. In an era where basic freedom of speech is held as sacrosanct, this law is globally recognised as being bizarre and archaic, and hardly used for anything other than protecting an already seemingly beloved institution.
The name Haji Sulong is little known in Thailand proper, despite being considered a hero and the founding father of the modern separatist movement in Thailand’s deep south ‘Patani’ region. Little is known outside the region about the conflict that erupted following his death, showing just how localised a civil war can be. This nescience is embodied in Haji Sulong, a man who lived an extraordinary life, was wildly influential and yet almost totally unknown to Thai society at large.
An examination of Thailand’s internal ‘auto-imperialism’, how the state works to capture populations on the fringes of the kingdom and put them to use for the nation’s imperial core. Exploring the roots, history and present day effects of Thai ‘auto-imperialism’.
If in the United States, the police are shown to uphold systemic racism, what are some sources and examples of systemic racism in Thailand? Here Capitalism leads to the exploitation of migrant workers, the State alters attitudes towards Chinese people due to National Agenda changes, and the country’s history of Fascism…
Jit Phumisak became the first to truly expose Thai history, to lay it bare for what it really was, and inspire a radical attempt to restructure the kingdom, sometimes referred to as the Che Guevara of Thailand, Jit’s legacy as a folk hero of the working class lives on today.
Ceaseless doses of daily nationalism serve one purpose, to enforce the Thai identity and link it to the state, to make being Thai part of the Thai national state. This grand plan, however, did not come out of nowhere. It is, in fact, a direct response and attack on the long history of anti statehood found inside of Thailand’s borders.