Middle-class aversion to democracy is holding us back

your say September 02, 2017 01:00

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Re: “Thaksin founded the Shinawatra dynasty, but the military empowered it”, The Nation, yesterday.

Titipol Phakdeewanich writes, “Moreover, middle-class assumptions that rural voters are naive are not only outdated and erroneous, but emphasise the inherent socio-political inequalities which gave rise to Thaksin in the first place.”

Or, put another way, Bangkok’s middle classes and elites arrogantly believe that only they should have a voice in the running of Thailand. Not surprisingly, rural voters and the poor don’t accept this. 

While I am not a fan of the Shinawatras or the red shirts, I applaud them for opening up the debate and empowering the less fortunate. They have created a situation whereby any future government will have to take into account the needs of the poor and rural people if they want to have any chance of success. 

The lesson for the Bangkok elite and middle classes is that you cannot ignore a large portion of the population anymore. 

And you won’t have legitimacy if you do. Period.

And that is a good thing. 

Samui Bodoh

Last sentence of the article:

“But only when a genuine democracy is given the opportunity to function without military intervention.” 

Or, put another way, when something happens that has not happened before, is not happening now, and for which there are no plans to make happen.

The military will not go and sit quietly waiting to do the bidding of successive “legitimate” governments because they seek to maintain power for a particular faction. That is fundamentally undemocratic.

Any future government will be military, or controlled by the military. That’s the plan. 

They have crushed, can crush, and will crush any who oppose them.

Crushing is synonymous with success under such a regime.

Your concept of “legitimacy” is irrelevant to them.

The only lesson that has been taught and learned, once again, is that the more “violence” you have at your disposal the better.

The only way for democracy to arrive in Thailand is if a significant portion of the military decide to become representative of a democratic ideal rather than a faction.

That portion that remains committed to a faction will, of course, oppose them.

It’s an old story, it has been told in most of the “developed” liberal democracies.

There is no soft solution.


The red shirts have a very valid cause, the struggle for equality of justice and democracy. It’s so unfortunate that they fell under the leadership of the most corrupt person/family in Thai history. In the long run they would do well to distance themselves from this influence so that they could possibly move on into a legitimate political force. Unfortunately there is a distinct possibility that their present leaders are only there to suck up the Shinawatra funding.


Their present leaders weren’t elected into office. They were appointed. How and by whom is a “secret”. They are there to ensure the red shirts do as they’re told. 

The UDD and red shirts don’t practise democracy in their own organisations, and neither does PTP for that matter. Until that changes, the rural people, the poor, the working class, or whatever label you tag the masses with, won’t have a real representation.