Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Update on Thailand

The PAD protests in Thailand have taken a turn for the worse, with Prime Minister Samak declaring martial law today. Though at the end of last week many commentators were speculating that Samak had won this round by holding firm without using force, it now looks as though the PAD has forced his hand. The Asia Times article I linked to above makes it clear just how reactionary a PAD victory would be (though of course Samak and his People's Power Party (contra the name) are no progressives). In addition to the links to General Saprang Kalayanamitr, "former Internal Security Operations Command deputy director Panlop Pinmanee and former spy chief and 2006 coup architect Prasong Soonsiri."

Even more disturbing than the reactionary nature of the PAD, however, is the way that some progressive forces have agreed to march under its banner - namely labor leader Somsak Kosaisuk, who commands loyalty among many lower level government workers. His work with the PAD is a devil's bargain. The coup of 2006 removed from power a president who had constructed Thailand's first universal healthcare system, a massive victory for labor which reduces the cost of job loss dramatically. There's also the matter of military coups being historically unfriendly to workers, to put it lightly.

In the ego front, the article I wrote for SW on Thailand has been reposted at Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific and Europe Solidaire Sans Frontieres. Thanks for the links!