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!


By Joseph Adams, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 9 July 2018,




It has been four years since the military dictatorship of Prayut Cha-o-cha overthrew the democratically elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra of the Thai Pheu party. There have been a number of protests and demonstrations by pro-democracy activists calling for elections to be held. Prayut Cha-o-cha himself promised that there would be a “return to democracy”, but it is obvious that the dictatorship is desperately trying to hold on to power. When demonstrators marched in front of government buildings the Thai military immediately arrested them and threw them into jail. The government keeps putting back the election and several commentators have asked when democracy will be restored. “Thai anti-government protesters demanding general elections by November were blocked by police on the fourth anniversary of the military coup in the country. Some 3,000 police officers were deployed to prevent some 200 protesters, camping at Thammasat University in the capital, Bangkok, from marching to the Government House. The Government House and surrounding streets were declared a no-go zone. On May 22, 2014, a bloodless military coup toppled Thailand’s elected government”. [1]


The government has sought to delay the election because it is determined to ensure further attacks on democratic rights and a continuation of oppressive and corrupt rule. Many of the government officials are mired in corruption but the pro-democracy movement continues to fight for a date for these elections. They are reflecting the movement of the masses, a desire for full democratic rights and an end to capitalist dictatorship. Most of the demonstrators remain unbowed and will continue to fight for a date for the elections. “Pro-election leaders have promised to come back with another rally if the election is postponed again. Fifty pro-election activists led by Rangsiman Rome, Sirawith "Ja New" Seritiwat and Nuttaa Mahattana gathered in front of the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC) on Thursday to show support for 47 other activists who were summoned by Nang Loeng police station to hear charges stemming from their protest... If the government does anything that will affect the elections they can be sure that we will come back stronger than ever. We have learned a lot from our previous encounters and our gatherings will grow”. [2]


The military dictatorship continues to rule the country with an iron fist similar to how Hun Sen the leader in Cambodia rules the country including the banning of meetings, arresting of members of opposition parties and ensuring that bourgeois democracy will not return to the country. Prayut Chan-o-cha has promised elections but his regime continually puts the date back in order that the regime will still be in power.


Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister Yingluck Shinawtra of the Thai Pheu government ruled the country before the coup in 2014. Now several members of their party have been arrested by the military. The most reactionary bourgeois elements in Thailand will do anything to prevent the Thai Pheu party, which is a bourgeois populist party, from gaining power respectively from winning the election. “Political parties reiterated their concerns about the political activities ban which prevents them from holding primaries to screen MP candidates, which is constitutionally required ahead of the general election.” [3]


As Al Jazeera has reported members of Thai Pheu party have been arrested. The “crime” of the Thai Pheu party is to criticise the current regime while having a significant influence in the country. The Thai Pheu party retained support from the masses and poor peasants and while in power tried to ameliorate the harsh economic conditions for workers and the urban poor. Based on their bourgeois character, their political program as well as their deeds were limited to the capitalist frame. However, their approach to implement social reforms created massive illusions in the party amongst the oppressed. The needs of imperialism required a change of government which in the end led to the military coup. “Eight senior members of Thailand's biggest political party, which ruled the country until a coup four years ago, have been charged for criticising the military government. Pheu Thai party members - Watana Muangsook, Chaturon Chaisang and Chusak Sirinil - were all charged with sedition on Monday, after a news conference held last week at the party's headquarters in Bangkok, outlining what they believe are "failings" of the military government During its news conference, which was broadcast live on Facebook, Pheu Thai party figures slammed the military for failing to restore democracy by repeatedly postponing the general elections - now set for February 2019”. [4]


The RCIT has analysed the role of the bourgeois populist party Thai Pheu which governed Thailand before the military coup in 2014. “Thus the Pheu Thai Party is a bourgeois-populist party which represents a minority faction of the capitalist class but which, however, has to rely on the support of the workers and peasants in order to hold power. Nevertheless Thaksin and his party are despised by the elite because it is a party whose strength is based on the support of the masses of workers and peasants who have repeatedly intervened in the political life of Thailand during the last decade by militant mass mobilizations.” [5]


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 can not 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.


              Overthrow the Prayut-Chan o cha Regime –For an indefinite General Strike!


              For a Democratic Constituent Assembly! Revolutionaries must put forward socialist proposals and argue in favor 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 lifes! Only a Revolutionary Workers and Poor Peasant Government can open the road towards a future of Freedom, Equality and Peace, a future of Socialism!


              We call on all workers and poor to study the manifesto of the RCIT and to join the RCIT! Let us build together a new world party of the Socialist Revolution, a revolutionary 5th International!