Thailand: CWI’s Disgraceful Support for the Bosses’ “Yellow Shirts”

By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 15.1.2014,



The right-centrist “Committee for a Workers International” (CWI) has recently published an article in which it expresses its support for the arch-reactionary demonstrations of the so-called “Yellow Shirts” in Thailand. (1) The CWI in Belgium wrote in an article: “The world-wide crisis has hit Thailand and sharpens the already existing contradictions. The cooling of the Chinese economy equally had consequences for Thailand. This led to a deterioration of the economic situation in the country. In particular the urban population which is dependent of the industry has been hit. Combined with the continuing corruption of the regime there are many reasons to protest. It would be therefore wrong to view the protests as a maneuver of the ‘Democrat Party’. The ‘Democrat Party’ certainly has joined the protests with strong forces. But the leaders of the protests have no intention to bring the urban elite and the military back to power. We rather see a rejection of the existing ‘gangster-capitalism’ which is in power and of which Thaksin is the most important symbol.

Not only is the above statement wrong, but it leads the CWI directly into the camp of open counter-revolution. As we have shown in our resolution on Thailand in early December 2013, there is no doubt about the bourgeois, capitalist character of the current government of Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of the deposed and exiled former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. However the current protests are not in any way a protest “against gangster-capitalism.” Rather, they are an attempt by the neo-liberal opposition “Democrat Party,” the political expression of the urban elite and the army command, to provoke a military coup d’état.

In addition, the protests are not in any way spontaneous, but have from the start been initiated, led, and controlled by the leaders of the “Democrat Party”.

These reactionaries hate the government of Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, Thaksin, because they are not sufficiently neo-liberal and because they have made limited social concessions to the urban poor and peasants. This is precisely why the “Democrat Party” has lost every election in the past 12 years while the pro-Thaksin forces have been victorious. Only by means of a military coup in 2006, has the dominant faction of the ruling class and their “Democrat Party” succeeded in bringing down Thaksin.

Having been consistently defeated in general elections, the “Democrat Party” is now trying to prevent the upcoming early elections scheduled to be held in Thailand on February 2nd. Their calculation is to provoke so much political instability that the military will stage yet another coup (as the army command has already done 18 times in the past eight decades!), thereby preventing the elections from being held, all for the sake of securing “law and order.

During the past 12 years, the masses have proven, both in elections as well as in repeated mass mobilizations and bloody street battles, that they are determined to defeat the reactionary “Yellow Shirts.”

In its recently published resolution on Thailand, the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has summarized the consequences of the present situation: “Thailand’s main opposition force, the misnamed Democrat Party, is organizing reactionary demonstrations aimed at overthrowing the government. These so-called “Yellow Shirts” are stirring up an atmosphere which could lead to another military coup d’état. The RCIT considers these demonstrations as a reactionary maneuver by the traditional political elite of Thailand. The working class and the poor peasants must organize mass counter-mobilizations without giving any political support and confidence in the government of Yingluck Shinawatra. To overcome the social and political misery, the working class must build an independent workers party based on a revolutionary program which leads the popular masses towards social revolution.” (2)

Naturally, the pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai Party is in itself also an enemy of both the working class and the poor peasantry. But in order to break the workers and poor away from these bourgeois forces, socialists have to identify the main enemy in the current situation – the wealthy bourgeoisie, the army command, and their lackeys in the “Democrat Party.” Only by taking such an approach are socialists capable of adopting a correct stand in the present conflict:

As we have said, the main problem is the political subordination of the workers and peasants in the “Red Shirts” movement to Thaksin’s leadership. At the moment, a central challenge is to fight against the ambitions of the reactionary army command, the “Yellow Shirts,” the King, etc., to smash the limited democratic achievements and launch another coup d’état. Such a struggle necessitates the mass mobilization and militant organizing of the workers and peasants who have been demobilized by the bourgeois Yingluck government, since the latter is hoping for another compromise with the army command. Such a struggle will include temporary blocs and united front actions with the “Red Shirts” movement, and even with those in the bourgeois-populist Pheu Thai Party who are willing to mobilize on the streets against the coup d’état. The goal must be to split the working class away from the Thaksin leadership and to organize them in an independent workers’ party. The RCIT believes that such a party must raise the program of permanent revolution, i.e., the intermeshing of the democratic and socialist revolutions, which will lead to an armed uprising of the workers and poor peasants in order to overthrow capitalism and build a workers’ and peasants’ republic.”

The CWI, which notoriously lacks any understanding of authentic Marxism and which consistently adapts to reformism, has failed once again to take the right side in an ongoing class conflict centered on an important democratic issue. Seeing how this has occurred so many times in past, it is hardly by accident. To provide only a few previous examples, we cite the CWI’s refusal to support and defend: the nationalist Irish in Northern Ireland against the British state and their loyalist lackeys; the black and migrant peoples in the August Uprising against the police in Britain in 2011; the Afghan and Iraqi resistance against US/UK imperialism; and the Palestinians in Gaza against Israel. (3)

Once again, the CWI’s position regarding the situation in Thailand illustrates how, without any revolutionary program, theory, and practice, a self-proclaimed “Trotskyist” organization is doomed to fail in providing the working class authentic revolutionary leadership, and instead runs into the danger of joining the counter-revolutionary camp. The RCIT is fully aware that there are many serious and dedicated class fighters in the ranks of the CWI. We call upon them to break with this organization which has crossed the class lines so many times.



(1) In German: Thailand: Proteste beginnen von Neuem, CWI Belgium, 13.01.2014,; in Dutch: Straatprotest in Thailand: terug van niet lang weg geweest, 5.12.2013, We translate from the German version.

(2) RCIT: Thailand: Defeat the looming reactionary Coup D’état! Mobilize the Working Class and Poor Peasants as an independent force against the “Yellow Shirts”, Army Command and Monarchy! 4.12.2013,

(3) See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, Chapter 13.