Down with the military dictatorship! Abolish the monarchy!
Emergency Statement by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 15 October 2020 (14.00 UTC), www.thecommunists.net
1. Today, at 4.00am local time, Thailand’s military regime led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha imposed a draconic state of emergency. The ruling bans unauthorized gatherings of more than five people and gives authorities other powers they deem needed to prevent unrest, including detaining people at length without charge. It also outlaws the news that “distorts information” or could cause a “misunderstanding.” Authorities also arrested several top protest leaders – among them Arnon Nampa, Panusaya “Roong” Sithijirawattanakul, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, and Jatupat “Pai Daodin” Boonpattararaksa. All of them, except the first one, are in their 20s. While other leaders of the democracy movement have vowed to continue their demonstrations, the army command threatens to brutally smash any new protest assembly.
2. The crackdown comes after unprecedented mass protests yesterday. In their largest demonstration yet with up to 100,000 people, the student-led movement marched on the anniversary of a 1973 student-led uprising against a military dictatorship. The protest escalated as King Maha Vajiralongkorn and other key member of the royal family visited the area at the same time. That led to a moment captured in photos and video that circulated widely on social media in which protesters gestured and shouted just meters from the royal motorcade. Such actions are unprecedented in Thailand, where those waiting for a royal motorcade regularly sit on the ground or prostrate themselves.
3. The current demonstrations are the latest highpoint of three months of protests which have been started by a new generation of young students. They denounce the elections last year which the regime manipulated in order to make General Prayuth – the leader of the military coup in 2014 – the new Prime Minister. They call for Prayuth’s resignation, for a new constitution and an end to the harassment of activists. Other demands are for curbs on the constitutional powers of the king and for him to transfer back personal control he took of some army units and a palace fortune valued in the tens of billions of dollars.
4. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) states its full and unconditional solidarity with the democracy movement! It is urgent now to broaden the movement and call for a general strike against the military crackdown. The students must energetically work towards mobilizing the workers and poor peasants. In the past weeks there have been already some links with activists of the so-called “Red Shirts” movement affiliated with former prime ministers Thaksin and Yingluck Shinawatra who were both overthrown in the past by military coups. Despite their suppression by the regime the “Red Shirts” still have strong roots among the popular masses.
5. In the current situation, revolutionaries need to focus on democratic demands including the removal of the draconic lese majeste law, the right to assembly, free press, etc. as well as the abolition of the monarchy. Furthermore, socialists should call for the election of a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly under the control of the armed people. Students, workers and peasants must create self-defense guards in order to protect their protests. They should work towards a general strike and popular uprising for the overthrow of the Prayut Chan-o-cha regime! Any lasting solution requires the creation of a workers and poor peasant government which nationalizes the corporations and banks under workers control, which expropriates the big land estates in order to improve the situation of the small and landless peasants and which breaks the country’s domination by imperialist Great Powers – most importantly the U.S. and China!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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The RCIT has published several documents on Thailand which can be viewed on our website at: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/
Our latest article is by Laurence Humphries: Thailand: Over 100,000 Students and Workers demonstrate against the King and the Regime. For the Removal of Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Regime! Abolish the Monarchy of King Vajiralongkorn! 2 October 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/asia/thailand-protests-october/