Understanding Thailand

Articles from our Understanding Thailand, ongoing series, which take a look at the deeper background of the Kingdom, examining its culture, history and material conditions. These are primarily for outsiders to gain a better understanding of Thailand.

Music For Life – Revisited

Ties between many of the original and most influential radical folk artists and their anti-capitalist beginnings seem to have frayed long ago. In an exercise of separating art from artist, leftists today must analyze the troubling messages espoused by many of these artists during the tumultuous political period from 2008-2014.

Are protests in Thailand a colour revolution? No

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 Real Face of Thai Feudalism Today TLDR – Part I

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. 

Euro-Fascism with Thai Characteristics

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.

Royalist Realism & Lèse-Majesté

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”.

Haji Sulong – Patani’s Reformer, Martyr and Father

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. 

Thai Imperialism and Colonisation

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’.

State Racism in Thailand: Capitalism, China, and Ultranationalism

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, a Eulogy

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.

Music For Life – A New Generation Rises

Gabriel Ernst How leftist Thai folk radicalised a generation and continues to inspire today. Deep in the forested mountains in Thailand’s north eastern Phetchabun province on the edge of the Isaan region, on the corner of a bend in the road, sits a small car park with...

Are protests in Thailand a colour revolution? No

Are protests in Thailand a colour revolution? No

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 Real Face of Thai Feudalism Today TLDR – Part I

The Real Face of Thai Feudalism Today TLDR – Part I

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. 

Euro-Fascism with Thai Characteristics

Euro-Fascism with Thai Characteristics

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.

Royalist Realism & Lèse-Majesté

Royalist Realism & Lèse-Majesté

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”.

Haji Sulong – Patani’s Reformer, Martyr and Father

Haji Sulong – Patani’s Reformer, Martyr and Father

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. 

Thai Imperialism and Colonisation

Thai Imperialism and Colonisation

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’.

State Racism in Thailand: Capitalism, China, and Ultranationalism

State Racism in Thailand: Capitalism, China, and Ultranationalism

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, a Eulogy

Jit Phumisak, a Eulogy

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.

Music For Life – A New Generation Rises

Music For Life – A New Generation Rises

Gabriel Ernst How leftist Thai folk radicalised a generation and continues to inspire today. Deep in the forested mountains in Thailand’s north eastern Phetchabun province on the edge of the Isaan region, on the corner of a bend in the road, sits a small car park with...

Nationalism & Anti-Statehood In Thailand

Nationalism & Anti-Statehood In Thailand

Gabriel Ernst TAKE A DRIVE anywhere across Thailand and you will be endlessly accosted by flags, national portraits, murals, and statues praising and enforcing Thai identity. The same is true if you turn on the television or radio. Enter any Buddhist temple and you...