For a Revolutionary Government of the Workers and Poor Peasants!
By Joseph Adams, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 05 February 2019, www.thecommunists.net
The military dictatorship calling itself the National Council for Peace and Order has decided through its control of the election commission to set the date of the general election in Thailand for March 24th. Officially, this should return the country back to bourgeois democracy. However, there is no doubt that the military regime called the election in order that political parties close to them will win the election so that the generals still exert some influence on the country.
“After more than four years of military rule, Thailand will finally hold elections on March 24. The poll will be the first since generals overthrew a democratically elected government in 2014 after months of violent street protests. The election commission announced the decision on Wednesday after having postponed the vote's date several times. Hundreds of activists have protested delays in holding the election since early January, the first such gatherings since the government lifted a ban on political activity in December. Thailand's two largest political parties previously said they had no objections to the election being rescheduled for the coronation”. 
The Reasons for the Election
The election has been called because the dictatorship is beset by a number of problems. Although Thailand is one of the most developed semi-colonial capitalist nations in South East Asia, it is – like all bourgeois countries – beset with economic problems. It still remains the third most unequal country in the world in its treatment of workers and the poor. It has a very poor human rights records and it is guilty of several gross abuses sited by NGO’s over employment and accusations of slavery of migrants in the country.
“Thailand is the second-largest economy in Southeast Asia after Indonesia. Its per capita GDP (US$6,729) in 2017, however, ranks in the middle of Southeast Asian per capita GDP, after Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia. Thailand was ranked as the world's third most unequal nation, behind Russia and India, in the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2016 (companion volume to the Global Wealth Report 2016, with one percent of the Thai population estimated to own 58 percent of Thailand's wealth).” 
China still remains Thailand’s biggest export destination. However, due to the continuing rivalry and the trade war between the main imperialist Great Powers – the United States and China – Thailand’s economy will be affected. While it is home to some major industries like car making, energy and petroleum, it still has a large sector of labour intensive agriculture particularly in rice production. The fact remains that the majority of Thai workers and peasants, many of whom are migrants, can not expect help from the state which provides no basic health or help of any kind. Whoever is elected, it will make no difference to them as none of the established parties provides a way to lift them from the appalling poverty they find themselves in.
The Political Parties Contesting the Election
There are several political bourgeois parties contesting this election. This includes the ruling Phalang Pracharat, the Democrat Party and various other supporters of the coup and main organizers of the yellow shirts who brought Prayuth-Chan-o cha and his military clique to power in May 2014. There are other smaller parties but they deliver the same message .The bourgeois populist Pheu Thai Party is the largest party which was formerly led by Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck. The Communist Party is banned as are all progressive parties in this election. Although four members of the National Council for Peace and Order have resigned from the Cabinet Prayuth Chan-o cha the Prime Minister still refuses to resign showing his contempt for the democratic process. Prayuth Chan-o cha still has the power to rule by decree irrespective of this election using his authority under rule 44.
“Politicians have called on Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha to stop exercising the all-powerful Section 44 and maintain political neutrality ahead of the March 24 general election. Chusak Sirinil, head of the Pheu Thai Party's legal team, said Thursday that the party wanted Gen Prayuth, in his capacity as the leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), to refrain from using his power under Section 44. Section 44 existed under the previous interim charter and has been carried over to the present constitution. The section gives Gen Prayuth, as the NCPO chief, absolute power to issue order”. 
The election has been forced on the regime but this will be no fair and open election as the regime hopes through the manipulation of parties like the Democrat Party and the Phalang Pracharat party noted supporters of the regime which would lead to no change at all in Thailand. The Pheu Thai party, the largest party, still has to register itself for election and the election commission, appointed and controlled by the military, could still prevent Pheu Thai candidates from standing. The Pheu Thai party still remains popular amongst sections of the masses because when it ruled Thailand prior to the coup it attempted to alleviate the poverty of the masses by small reforms particularly rice subsidies for small peasants working in the rice fields. However, it remains a bourgeois party wedded to capitalism. Its role has been to subordinate the masses to its pro-capitalist policies with a few crumbs to ensure the support of the workers and poor peasants.
Democratic Activists Found Dead in Laos
It has recently been reported that several democratic activists have been found dead in neighbouring Laos and suggestions have been made that the Thailand regime is responsible for their deaths.
“The announcement for the date of Thailand election came as two bodies of anti-government activists were found in the Mekong River. They were among dozens of dissidents who fled the country after the coup. At least two other critics have gone missing from Laos in recent years, leading to the accusation from dissidents living outside Thailand that this was the work of the military”. 
This demonstrates clearly the role of the bourgeois dictatorship in Thailand which arrests, detains and even kills opponents of the regime in order to pursue this regime of intimidation and oppression.
Furthermore, recent attacks by armed groups in the south have also thrown light to the miserable conditions of the Muslim minority which suffers from longstanding systematic oppression.
“In the latest of a series of fatal attacks in Thailand's southernmost provinces, a group of assault rifle-wielding attackers on Friday stormed a Buddhist temple, killing two monks and wounding two others. The evening assault took place at Wat Rattananupab temple in Su Ngai Padi district of Narathiwat province, an area located in the heart of Thailand's deep south where ethnic Malay separatists have been waging an armed campaign for independence for decades.” 
The RCIT supports the struggle for democratic rights and for the defeat and removal of the Prayuth-Chan-o-cha regime. However, the restrictions and controls that this regime is putting on the process of the election make it a sham. It is very doubtful that this will be a fair and open election. As we have said before what is required is a struggle to overthrow the regime and establish a revolutionary workers and poor peasants government.
“The RCIT welcomes the campaign to force an election on the regime and the efforts of pro-democracy activists and protesters to make sure that Thailand again has free elections and democratic rights. However, bourgeois democracy will never solve the issues of poverty and cannot even give full democratic rights. As long as capitalism and imperialism have a foothold in Thailand, exploitation and oppression will be the reality for the workers and the poor. The RCIT puts forward the following demands for uniting the masses, the working class and urban poor in a struggle to establish a Revolutionary Workers and Poor Peasant Government”. .
The RCIT calls activists in Thailand to study our programmatic manifesto, to visit our website and discuss our policies. The RCIT welcomes discussions on the future for Thailand and the urgent necessity to build a revolutionary party in Thailand as part of the Revolutionary World Party.
* Overthrow the Prayuth-Chan o cha Regime – For an indefinite General Strike!
* For a Democratic Constituent Assembly! Revolutionaries must put forward socialist proposals and argue in favour of a Workers and Poor Peasant Government based on Councils of the Workers and the Rural and Urban Poor!
* For armed defence guards of the workers and the oppressed masses to protect themselves from provocations and attacks from the police, the military and right wing forces!
* End the Imperialist Exploitation! Expropriate the multi-national corporations and put them under workers control! Abolish all debts without compensation! Summarize all banks into one State Bank under control of the workers!
* Only an armed insurrection led by the working class can end the military dictatorship and imperialist exploitation with a minimum number of lost lives! Only a Revolutionary Workers and Poor Peasant Government can open the road towards a future of Freedom, Equality and Peace, a future of Socialism!
See on this issue also various articles of the RCIT which have been published in this sub-section of our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/
In particular we refer readers to:
Joseph Adams: Thailand Four Years after the Coup. General Strike to bring down the Prayut Cha-O-Cha Dictatorship! For A Revolutionary Workers and Poor Peasant Government! 9 July 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-4-years-after-the-coup/
RCIT: Thailand: Smash the Developing Military Coup! 21.5.2014, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-coup/