Thailand: Future Forward Party banned and it's MPs expelled from Parliament



Fight against the undemocratic attacks of the Prayut-Chan-O-cha Government, but no political support for the FFP!


Article by Joseph Adam, RCIT Britain, 18th March 2020,


The Future Forward party, a bourgeois liberal party which is well supported by the youth and students, gained 89 seats in the 2019 General Election. The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-O-cha influenced the decision of the constitutional court to ban the Future Forward party because its leader had given a large loan to the party. However, the real reason for this decision was to eliminate any opposition to his rule.


Before the general election of last year, Prayut Chan-O-cha was leader of the military coup overthrowing Yingluck Shinawatra, leader of the Pheu Thai Party (another bourgeois party with mass support among the poor peasants and workers) in 2014. The present government only gained power because the regime appointed 250 senators in the Upper House of Parliament, mainly military personnel to ensure a majority in parliament and establish a government favourable to the bourgeoisie and large capitalist interests.


Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled on Friday to dissolve the country’s most dynamic opposition party over claims it broke election laws. The Future Forward Party (FFP) and its leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, were accused of breaking election finance laws when he loaned 191.2 million-baht ($6.06m) to his party during the campaign last year. The court also banned 16 FFP leaders from politics for 10 years.” [1]


Future Forward was Thailand’s newest political party. Its candidates and young supporters looked to challenge and change the government run by Prayuth Chan-o-cha - the army general who gained power in a 2014 coup. But that all changed last week when it was shut down by the courts.” [2]


Political Instability in Thailand


The decision to ban the Future Forward party was a deliberate decision by the regime in Thailand to eliminate any opposition to its rule. Thailand with its notorious, undemocratic system of government faces demonstrations and protests from mainly students in the universities opposed to the decision of the courts to ban the Future Forward Party. Political analysts in Thailand have also pointed to the crisis of the Coronavirus epidemic coupled with climate change which is affecting Thailand’s ability to compete on the capitalist markets in Southeast Asia.


At the same time, a new round of street politics has begun. Following the dissolution of the FFP, a party popular among young people, students from universities and schools across the country have held rallies to express their dissatisfaction with the verdict. Nobody can predict how this new wave of protests will end”. [3]


Demonstrations and protests continue throughout Thailand


Demonstrations and protests continue throughout Thailand in protest against this punitive action against the Future Forward Party. The Future Forward Party had some support amongst students and the youth similar to the Pheu Thai party founded by Thaksin Shinawatra - another billionaire who had some support amongst the masses and urban poor. The political crisis of the Prayut-Chan-O-cha regime is driven by the crisis of world imperialism where the rate of profit is falling and capitalists continue to search for markets while oppressing the masses and poor peasants.


Markets already sense Thailand’s emerging economic and financial weakness, judging by the recent offloading of Thai stocks and dumping of the local baht currency by foreign investors and traders. Last week, the Stock Exchange of Thailand fell 4.1% to its lowest intraday level in three years, albeit amid a global rout. The baht, Asia’s best performing currency over the last two years, is down 6% against the dollar in 2020, making it the region’s worst performer. A controversial court decision in late February to dissolve the opposition Future Forward party, the third biggest vote-getter at the March 2019 elections with a fervent youth following, could not have come at a more inopportune time for former coup-maker Prayut. The verdict has sparked anti-government, pro-democracy protests at high schools and universities across the nation in recent days, a student-led mobilization not seen since the volatile 1970s when soldiers opened fatal fire on students.”[4]


For a Workers and Poor Peasants Government


The RCIT welcomes and supports the demonstrations and protests and calls for the widening of the protests to include an indefinite general strike to remove the dictatorship of Prayut-Chan-O-Cha and his government. This government rules by decree and with a strong military presence. At the 2019 general election in Thailand it was a stalemate result with both the Thai Pheu Party and the Future Forward Party with more seats in Parliament. But because of the undemocratic nature of Thailand’s constitution Prayut Chan-o-cha was able to appoint 250 senators to the Upper House, mostly from the military, to form a government.


This is clearly a government of dictatorship and this latest move to ban the FPP is to show that no opposition will be allowed in Thailand. As the RCIT has stated in other documents this period is a revolutionary historic period with the capitalist mode of production in conflict with the nature of production. The working masses, the rural and urban poor and its vanguard, the most revolutionary section of society has to march forward with the construction of a revolutionary party. Such a party can lead the revolutionary struggle to success and enables the masses to end capitalism forever and to move towards socialism.


The RCIT puts forward the following transitional demands to organise the struggle for socialism, overthrow the military junta and establish a workers and poor peasant’s government. We call on everyone who supports the fight for socialism to join the RCIT and to help building a section in Thailand.


* Support the strikes and protests by students against the regime! Defend the Future Forward Party and their supporters against the undemocratic attacks of the regime! Refuse the forced dissolution of the FFP! However, don't give any political support for the FFP! Fight for the building of a new workers party instead!


* Overthrow the Prayut-Chan-O-cha regime! Organize protests up to an indefinite general strike!


* For a Sovereign Constituent Assembly under the control of the organized and armed popular masses! In such a constituent assembly revolutionaries would put forward and argue in favour of a Workers and Poor Peasants Government, based on councils of action!


* For armed defense guards of workers and the oppressed to protect themselves from provocations from attacks from the police, the military and fascist gangs!


* 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!


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!