Ordinary working Thais must start their own political party
Thailand is considered a semi-developed country, but that description does not apply to working conditions in its core business sectors of fishing and farming. Workers here must still wait with bowed head and take what they are offered – which can be nothing if you are a fisherman kept in captivity on a trawler.
In general Thais are perceived as gentle people, so when Westerners hear about the savagery on Thai trawlers or farms, we are deeply shocked and begin to wonder about the two-faced business owners and their cruelty. Labour-rights activist Andy Hall recently fled Thailand out of fear for his safety. That tells you a lot about the current situation and the bleak prospects.
Thailand could learn from the best-functioning countries in the West. The only way ordinary people can get a say in society is by gaining power – which means organising in unions, establishing their own political party, starting cooperatives, and educating themselves and their children.
If the Thai state were run by a new party whose voting base was poor and ordinary people, it would be solving the problems that Western countries also faced in their development. Now that these countries are developed, state intervention is either not needed or has been reduced for political reasons, as witnessed in the era of privatisation under Thatcher and Reagan.
The Thai state must intervene to solve problems like the seasonal rice gluts and crashing prices, but not by using short-sighted scams just to buy votes.
The state has to wake up to its historical task of helping all citizens living and working under unacceptable conditions. Working people meanwhile must organise and establish their own party.