FACTorial: If voting could change anything it would be illegal. No choice in Thailand.

June 21, 2011

FACTorial: If voting could change anything, it would be illegal

Yellowshirt PAD No-Vote campaign billboard: stupid buffaloes, toothless tigers, mad dogs,sneaky lizards and have-a-banana monkeys. Seen in front of the United Nations on Ratchadamnoen Nok on the way to Parliament.

 

American anarchist Emma Goldman could not have been more right. This was dangerous, seditious speech (and still is) and the US promptly deported her on trumped-up charges.

The trouble is, most people equate voting with democracy. It is actually only a small part of our democratic duties as citizens and govt’s (long forgotten) democratic responsibilities to us.

It’s been a really long time since we had any kind of meaningful election in Thailand. Think about it: Have you ever heard of any candidates who were, say, poor? Certainly not, in any country, and—SURPRISE!– they all seem to get much, much richer in office.

The Yellowshirts’ second billboard—the Heaven and Hell, excuse us, Earth, Party. [The Nation]

 

Eight million stories in the naked city: here are 24 of them, on Sathorn Road. [2Bangkok]

 

Voting is compulsory in Thailand, not voting is subject to criminal penalties. The Yellowshirt PAD is encouraging citizens not to vote. However, I see this as ‘passive resistance’ rather than genuine civil disobedience. With this strategy, we run the certainty that another bunch of greedy, little know-nothings will get themselves elected.

In 2007, the military coup govt passed the most repressive laws in Thai history. We have them to thank for the Computer Crimes Act and wholesale censorship, the Internal Security Act, and new film and printing laws, all passed in their outgoing 11th hour. Does anyone else think it strange that future govts accept these illegal laws from an illegal govt as valid?!?

The coup’s legacy remains and military control of Thailand’s govt and people is stronger than it has been in decades. Military strongmen, as in Burma, rule Thailand with an iron fist. The military has shown itself intent on destabilising Thailand’s monarchy by emasculating King Bhumibol by using rampant prosecution in the King’s name with the full cooperation, naturally, of Thailand’s politicians.

I’ve always liked Chuwit’s crazy ads. He is independent of any establishment political parties. His position against govt corruption makes him, in theory anyway, a sort of Thai Ron Paul. But…can we overlook the fact Chuwit earned his wealth on the backs of our daughters in his massage parlours?

If one closely examines his campaign strategy in each election, we see Chuwit selling himself to voters. That’s what businessmen do and that’s precisely what old square-head did. Thailand certainly doesn’t need another big ego in the driver’s seat. So much for the ‘independents’.

Chuwit’s election to office is beyond remote possibility although a lot of ordinary Bangkok voters are talking about him. If there were an enormous number of ballots cast for Chuwit, the outcome would be merely a divided vote, guaranteeing the election of…another bunch of greedy, little know-nothings.

The Democrats are a well-proven choice, of course. The Democrat prime minister has proven himself a liar on nearly every issue. Even worse luck for a pol, he’s a liar who always gets caught.

The Dem’s deputy PM, a savvy old warhorse of a pol who can talk out of both sides of his mouth at the same time he’s walking on both sides of the street and still turn gold into dreck, seems to have been mostly running the show behind pretty boy except for a few occasions when the PM stepped out of line. He’s been at the heart of every single corruption scandal involving the Dems for decades.

Bye-bye! Our fearless Dep climbs down a ladder at the Parliament’s back wall as Redshirt citizens inside Parliament exercise their rights to observe and be heard.

 

We have the Dems to thank for massive censorship of more than half a million webpages, nine months of a false-flag ‘emergency’ in which all rule of law was suspended, enormous numbers of prosecutions of political dissidents for public protest, the shutdown of radio, television and magazines, more than 1,000 political prisoners, and shooting Thai subjects in the streets, when soldiers weren’t kept busy killing Rohingya and Hmong refugees or Southern Muslims.

Using the military coup’s Computer Crimes Act and data retention regulations as a tool for silencing political dissent was not enough for the ‘Democrats’. This govt introduced not only a new computer law which criminalised mere access and possession of “inappropriate” content and enforced third-party liability with criminal penalties against webmasters, website administrators and owners and all content providers, including ISPs and search engines (that means Google, too). The bill was suspended pending ‘further study’ after substantial protest from netizens and media. No need to worry: They don’t actually care about us. A future govt will ram this though when we’re not lookng.

The Dems also introduced a Public Assembly Act not to protect citizen protest but to, unconstitutionally, restrict and criminalise it.

Can we think any future govt, of any party or coalition, will not resurrect such police-state bills?

The Dems created a govt convinced it knows better than the rest of us and was not afraid to lock people up or shoot them for thinking differently. We’ve definitely had enough Damn-ocracy from this bunch.

Ever since the coup d’etat, it’s really been the Thai military in control. The generals allow us the illusion of civilian govt while pulling the strings. Thailand is fast becoming Burma in sheep’s clothing.

Let’s forget—entirely—all the splinter parties. They’re just vanity voting like vanity publishing. Their puffed-up old pols remind me of Orwell’s Animal Farm. Dinosaurs run these parties for their own self-interest, completely out of touch with Thai people. They may be important in a future coalition minority govt but we can’t imagine who would actually vote for them on election day even were they your relatives.

Voters have just one question—“How much are we gonna get paid?” [Thai Rath]

 

That leaves Peua Thai. While the Redshirt movement is divided over support for a fugitive PM, Puea Thai is not. With a Puea Thai majority, Thaksin’s sister, Puying-lots-of-luck, will be our next prime minister with square-head pulling the strings from overseas and all govt positions filled by Thaksin sycophants. This exile has already “proudly” described his sister as his ‘clone’.

That assessment may be even more true because Yingluck is facing criminal and civil cases related to her brother’s assets. Should this lucky girl become prime minister, she could be convicted and gaoled during her term of office. Thai courts have already ruled her to be proxy to big bro’s assets. Just runs in the family!

Square-head’s kid sister is also facing three charges of perjury for making false statements to Thailand’s SEC and further charges brought by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. Certainly doesn’t seem to make for a squeaky, honest PM from the git-go. Can we expect her to be any less of a liar than the current PM?

Our runaway prime minister bled this country dry. I think it inconceivable that the fugitive PM could legally be allowed to return except to a gaol cell but this is Thailand so there is at least the possibility all pretence at legality might be discarded with PT at the helm.

Thaksin the Great, you say? So why doesn’t he just suck it up like anybody else and go to gaol for his paltry two-year sentence? If he is too cowardly to go to prison for us, how can he be brave enough to lead us into a democratic future? He has a lifetime to answer for murdered families in his three wars on drugs, murders at Tak Bai and Krue Se, extrajudicial killings, tortures, murders which took place with his tacit approval. If we really need to be more clear: Thaksin Shinawatra murdered Somchai Neelapaichit. Two years, he could do it planking!

If Thaksin is somehow pardoned by circumventing the court process, rewriting the Consitution, Thailand’s entire judicial system will be brought into even greater disrepute. We will have become just another corrupt, third-world tinpot pretending at democracy. Constitutions, ahem, are supposed to mean something.

Many in the Redshirt movement who support Thaksin’s return have obviously failed to consider that grants for education, healthcare, water and more to poor villagers came not from his own money but from ours. These programmes were accomplished solely out of self-interest. Thaksin, along with all other government officials and parliamentarians, refused to even meet with the Assembly of the Poor. Thaksin himself refused lunch with Granny Hai. Granny Hai—listen, is there anybody else you’d rather have lunch with?

Will Puea Thai unblock our Internet? Get rid of lèse majesté laws?

The only genuine reason Thaksin wants to come back to Thailand is to recover his prestige after being tossed, to take back his ill-gotten gains seized by the courts and…to steal some more money from the rest of us.

If anyone genuinely decries ‘double standards’ by Thai politicians and want to get rid of the rich, elite in govt, Thaksin is first off the dance-card. This billionaire is no phrai peasant!

Peua Thai plans to make it a Cabinet decision to free Thailand’s political prisoners, calling it an ‘amnesty’. This is certainly a laudable sentiment but hardly one likely to be put into action. In fact, this PT platform is the only reason we can think of to vote for them.

In most ways, all prisoners are political prisoners. Has Puea Thai really thought this strategy through? Where will they draw the line? What about “terrorism” charges? It is unlikely they will see those arrested, for instance, for drugs as political prisoners. (Yes, they are.) Thaksin, of course, solved the drug problem by murdering a few thousand Thai drug users, along with their children and grandmothers. And we want him back? WTF!!!

How about convictions using the Computer Crimes Act or other lèse majesté laws? Would Peua Thai actually be brave enough to accomplish the release of those political prisoners pitting themselves squarely against Royal cronyism? Will the party stop specious prosecutions, ensure free media and unblock our Internet? Will they support, for example, the abolition of the Privy Council?

Our neighbour Myanmar firmly denies it has any political prisoners. Guess that depends on how one defines politics but I think Thai govt would offer the world  the same responce!

Will Puea Thai drop lèse majesté prosecutions of Thais in exile:  socialist, republican academic Giles Ji, Thaksinite Jakrapob, Red hardliner Arisman and undoubtedly others? Will the party allow free thinkers to return home? We genuinely doubt any political party would court free thinkers.

Thai pols are not known for decisive action, thinking differently or exhibiting any personal courage involving political risk. Frankly, even if Puea Thai is elected to a majority govt, we think it will be business as usual, just another cheap trick on Thai people.

In fact, Yingluck is already looking for the exits on this issue—the PT platform has been clarified as only an amnesty for convicted politicians, must mean big Bro! Gee, that makes me feel better.

Despite Thailand’s flagrant and atrocious human rights abuses, our govt serves as chair of the UN’s National Human Rights Council. Can anyone believe human rights would be more protected under Puea Thai or any other regime? Thailand is ruled by military junta, unless all of us do something about it.

Would Puea Thai cut the nuts off the military? Get real!

 [Khaosod]

In short, voting in the July elections gives me no sense of comfort or justice. Much as in the USA, and Zimbabwe, there is no change which means there still is no hope. If we vote, the greedy, little know-nothings win; they win if we don’t vote, too.

We find it wildly appropriate that 53.5 million ballots are being printed—for only 47.3 million voters—by the National Lottery Board. That’s exactly what this election means for Thailand: gambling on a lottery.

Disclaimer: I have never voted. I think it antithetical to democracy to vote for the lesser of two evils. Show me somebody worth voting for.

Where we’ve been, where we’re going: No direction home.

It’s not him. The worst of the worst: There’s actually a candidate, Pradit Phataraphasit, promising a house and a car for every Thai voter. Here’s a guy who knows money. In fact, he was former deputy minister of finance. PMUOTFILSHINTGTTH! [Pick me up off the floor, I’m laughing so hard, I need to go to hospital!] Of course, it’s not his money!  Just what we need, more traffic jams, more pollution, more debt. Maybe he gets one on those nice Royal escorts, snarling up the rest of us. Just get under the house, Pradit!

If you vote, write in a protest vote, vote for yourself or your favourite buffalo or favourite monkey, spoil the ballot. If enough voters had the courage to protest at the polls, govt might consider itself warned. That is what only nonviolent civil disobedience can accomplish, putting power back into the hands of the people.

 

FACT’s prediction: Our next PM. An animated straw man with head stuffed with sawdust. “If I only had a brain…”

FACT’s bottom line: No way we can win, no matter the outcome. No matter the outcome, Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT) will still be here defeding your freedoms, at considerable risk. Sign FACT’s petition!

4 Responses to “FACTorial: If voting could change anything it would be illegal. No choice in Thailand.”


  1. Shakespeare was so much a contemporary, and remains so, in his stage-driven descriptions of human nature and how we so infest ourselves.


  2. […] – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand sees the ‘no’ vote as a form of passive resistance Voting is compulsory in Thailand, not voting is subject to criminal penalties. The Yellowshirt PAD […]


  3. […] – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand sees the ‘no’ vote as a form of passive resistance Voting is compulsory in Thailand, not voting is subject to criminal penalties. The Yellowshirt PAD […]


  4. […] with a culturally relevant explanation as well.) FACT– Freedom Against Censorship Thailand: FACTorial: If voting could change anything it would be illegal. No choice in Thailand. New Mandala: “Vote No” Logic […]


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