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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

#Abolish112 May Our Generation, Break the Cycle #WhatsHappeningInThailand

📢 Among the many breaking headlines that we humans have the pleasure of waking up to these days, was the news on Tuesday (12 March 2024) that the Thai Election Commission had sought the dissolution of Thailand’s Move Forward Party (MFP). MFP won a majority of democratically-cast votes in the 2023 Thai elections; according to democratic logic, one would expect the MFP to now be Thailand’s ruling party. This was not the case. Not only was Pheu Thai (PT), the second-place winner of the elections, given the ruling party status instead of MFP; conservative forces within the establishment have been working overtime to sabotage the MFP’s success. The Thai Constitutional Court, for example, ruled at the beginning of this year that the MFP's progressive proposals to amend Thailand's notorious lèse-majesté laws were “dangerous to the security of the state,” going as far as to accuse the MFP of attempting to “overthrow the democratic regime of government with the king as a head of state.”

🙃Most people in the nation, regardless of their political views, personal identity, or understanding of why, likely sensed this coming. The experience of witnessing democratically-elected governments in Thailand rise and fall is shared by every Thai generation, identity, and part of the diaspora. Thailand is no stranger to coups, rebellions, and revolutions: a quick look at our history would reveal to you the Siamese Revolution of 1932, the People’s uprisings of the 1970s and 1990s, the more recent chapter of People’s uprisings in the early 2000s, and at least 10 coups d’état in between. If you are alive in 2024, you have certainly experienced at least one of these chapters. This isn’t anything new.

📣And the Thai progressive movement is not a monolith; from hunger strikers and expressive artists, to politicians and megaphone-bearers at protests, all have played a role in the resistance against the establishment. Some of the most polarising actions within the movement have been of the ‘disruptive’ category, including actions that directly challenge authority, often resulting in legal punishment. It has been reported that as of the end of January 2024, at least 263 individuals have been prosecuted using Article 112, with a large portion of these individuals coming from marginalised groups, which includes the Thai youth. Many of us are aware of inspiring young youth activists like 15-year-old Thanalop “Yok” Phalanchai who was detained for almost two months for allegedly ‘defaming the monarchy’ at a rally in 2022, and 22-year-old Tantawan “Tawan” Tuatulanon who is facing multiple Section 112 charges, while simultaneously conducting a hunger strike demanding for political reform. 

❌These are actions that our establishment deems ไม่สุภาพ (not polite) and ไม่เรียบร้อย (not proper). The establishment has demonstrated that they are enthusiastic advocates of locking up, abusing, and policing young people, and people in general, for even mildly trying to demand accountability from them. Simultaneously, they stubbornly refuse to open their eyes to the reality that the youth are demanding that they wake up to: that society is deeply unjust, and that the youth are just responding appropriately to the unjust circumstances that have been forced upon them. Any claim the establishment has made about ‘caring for the youth’ is immediately hypocritical because of this. Ultimately, Thai youths today are being perpetually robbed of their childhoods, and are now forced to carry our whole nation on their backs, putting their lives on the line to fight for our entire society’s rights to life.

🚨This intensifies the hypocrisy of targeting the MFP. If the actions of self-sacrificial, anarchist youth activists are not สุภาพ (polite) or เรียบร้อย (proper) enough for these elites, then what is? The MFP is a political party, formed to face the establishment head-on, using language and methods that the establishment would ideally understand. Yet this, too, is apparently unacceptable for the establishment. Unfortunately, not even a ‘civilised,’ bureaucratic, organised, democratically-elected party like MFP, made up of some of the brightest, most educated, charismatic political minds Thailand has to offer, was ‘สุภาพ’ (polite) or ‘เรียบร้อย’ (proper) enough for elites who want to protect their power and impunity. Overall, there is no hope for true justice as long as this system stays in place.

🖤But though the system is hopeless, our world is not without hope. In fact, we are living through potentially one of the most hopeful times we have seen for a while. History has shown repeatedly that the more visible and tangible the People’s resistance becomes, the more fearful the elites become, compelling them to oppress harder. More oppression from above might be a poignant symptom of progress, even if it does not feel that way.

❤️‍🩹Thus, we must not despair. Many hear the phrase ‘history repeats itself’ and feel like there is nothing we can do to improve life for us all, when this is not true at all. As mentioned above, many coups and People’s movements paved the way for us to be here today; if they did not succeed just a little bit, we would not have been able to persist. Unlike the accusations being frequently hurled at the Thai progressive youth by the conservative establishment, it is actually out of deep respect and love for our elders and those who came before us that we stand steadfast in demanding a better future for our nation - not out of disrespect or malice. We must be compelled to fight for further progress, not only for our future generations, but also to honour our ancestors. This world was made for all of us. 

#WeAreManushyan ♾ Equal Human Beings



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