Thaksin warns of a “revolution by the people”

There is currently too much to cover on the economic front and with Abhisit too… 😉 Let’s go back to Thaksin (I din’t talk about him since a long time).

Something is happening.

Since a few weeks, the ex-Prime Minister is on the path to war. He doesn’t hide anymore. He’s acting like the leader of the Red Shirts. And he has a mission : take back the power, lead the people and oust the “conservators”.

He left behind the usual thai bullshit and rethorical way of speaking. Thaksin starts to talk for real.

Ousted ex premier Thaksin Shinawatra last night ruled out the possibility of talks with the government, saying that it was too late.

The time for talks has passed. This matter is not about me; it’s about the country, democracy and the future of our children and grandchildren,” he told his red clad supporters through a video linkup during their gathering outside Government House. […]

He expected to see “a revolution by the people” that is larger than the ones in October 1973 and May 1992. […]

He said the Thai politics now is dominated by aristocrats and the Bangkok middle class, and “not truly for the people”. […] (Nation)

Those are extraordinary words. Nothing less.

Striking with regard to thai customs. And striking when replaced within the current political situation and the coming royal succession.

We are witnessing a brutal power struggle, but (and that’s the trick) it goes beyond the usual “backroom struggles” (when Somchai #1 wants the job of Somchai #2 and pushes him out).

We could draw some parallels with the situation back in the 70s… Like Thaksin does.

But don’t get me wrong : I don’t believe the ex-Prime Minister is a perfect democrat.. His record speaks for itself… Unfortunately.

But one thing is likely : he will be back.

The equation is very simple :

-the royal succession will happen. And probably sooner than later.

-therefore, there is an intense power stuggle between conservators and the “others” (difficult to give a name to such heterogeneous group*)

-meanwhile… the country will suffer a lot from the recession. The outcome is obvious : Abhisit and the Democrat Party are going to be wipped out, because of the discontent of the population. The economic crisis is the ally of Thaksin. The people will think more and more : “life was better before”. Abhisit and the conservators haven’t enough weight to counterbalance such leverage (for that matter, a violent reaction can’t be ruled out).

Thailand faces a conundrum.

A perfect storm.

[* from leftists, republicans, business orientated to liberals, from poor farmers to academics, from taxi drivers to intellectuals etc.]

21 Responses to “Thaksin warns of a “revolution by the people””


  1. 1 prokester 5 April 2009 at 3:49 am

    TC, do you think he is serious, or is he just using the red sentiment to get his dosh back? I find it hard to put in faith in his words, ditto clown club, but all this revo spin must surely mean something ‘big’ is about to give way…or be blown away.

  2. 2 Actu-Film.com 5 April 2009 at 4:07 am

    Well, let’s hope it won’t be a blood bath if a “revolution by the people” ever happens.

  3. 3 Eds 5 April 2009 at 4:34 am

    It’s not about him. LOL

    Things would go much better for the conservators if Thaksin disappeared before a royal succession occurs. Given the tone of his comments above I would say this is now a priority objective for the conservators.

    Of course for a revolution to have any chance of success the ‘others’ will need weapons and this may explain the sightings of Thaksin in Cambodia. A porous border is all he needs to arm his supporters.

    It’s difficult to see any positives for Thailand in all this.

  4. 4 Bedwyr 5 April 2009 at 5:10 am

    Bedwyr is not one to say “I told you so”.

    But he did.

    Bedwyr

  5. 5 ThaiCrisis 5 April 2009 at 5:40 am

    For once… I think Thaksin is sincere.
    Don’t forget : he has been humiliated. The Junta… the UK visa cancelled… the passport cancelled… the “wanted” sign with his picture… the conviction… his divorce… the forced expatriation… the second coup last december…

    There is hate. There is probably a strong will of “vengeance”.

    This is a powerful “fuel” for any “engine” like him.

  6. 6 Bedwyr 5 April 2009 at 9:00 am

    How it goes from here is going to depend on how committed the Reds are. Thais are notorious for having a tiny little span of attention, and because many of them are based upcountry, money will be an issue.

    If the PAD weighs in there will be a bloodbath. personally I think it is inevitable, and I sense a denouement is approaching which will change the nature of Thai politics for ever.

    Perhaps Wednesday would not be a good time to be in that part of Bangers.

    Bedwyr

  7. 7 ThaiCrisis 5 April 2009 at 9:33 am

    Bedwyr : money is part of the issue, precisely.
    When more and more people will lose their jobs, when the harsh reality will become inescapable (“good times are over”), when families will be crunched by debts, when even the middle class in Bangkok will suffer… then believe me “attention” is going to increase. A lot.

    Of course, if you believe that the economic crisis is soon to be over (the G20 said so…) 😉 then it’s irrelevant.

    I do the opposite bet : a long and deep economic crisis.

    Abhisit and the clowns are firing their lasts ammunitions (borrow here and there, increase deficits, make up some numbers, play the “confidence” show blablabla)… but after a while, the game will be over for them.

  8. 8 Froggy 5 April 2009 at 11:42 am

    I have for some years now thought that Thaksin could be compared to and contrasted with Peron of Argentina. The two are not the same, and there are real differences beyond the differences in the men, but still — it is an interesting comparison.

    What always bothered me about this comparison was the thought that Thaksin might be followed by a brutal military regime, as Peron was. So far I think the nation has been lucky that the first downfall of Thaksin was so gentle.

    The discussion here points out the complications of the succession and the economy, however. I can’t assume that Thaksin’s return will be harmless — this time the factions may well involve some real firepower.

    I’d be interested to see what others here think of this (perhaps over-simple) model: Thailand has long been run by “influential figures” who form factions and alliances. The traditional struggle for power has always had very little or nothing to do with democracy or freedom or the fate of the nation, but was always at base just a matter of who gets the spoils. Thaksin was displaced by other “influential figures” who were on the outside looking in, and now, unfortunately, the struggle between the traditional factions has broadened to include social groups (farmers, BKK middle class, military factions, those wishing to undo events of 1932 and those who believe in the possibly mythical “Finland plot”). What used to be a fight between alliances of bosses over the ability to control the spending of the government and skim the profits of business has changed fundamentally. It has become bigger and now involves social classes as never before.

    I believe the outcomes are now harder to predict. It’s no longer just this or that group of “influential figures” temporarily dividing up the traditional sources of wealth — it’s Thai society in general trying to define the future of the nation. This time, everybody feels they have a stake. A lot of them are wrong, as they are just puppets or tools in the hands of the Big Boys, but they are in the power struggle as almost never before. Their motives are not to support this or that group of corrupt politicians, but to advance their own welfare; the best example of this is the farmers who believe Thaksin was their benefactor. There are anti-Thaksin examples, as well.

    What Thaksin did was light a fire under the pre-existing system, expanding the pushing and shoving among the bosses by resorting to unsustainable populist politics. He involved a lot of new people in the brawl.

    This is a guy who is not above using his children as pawns in his insatiable search for astronomical wealth, and he’s not above using the poor of the nation as his cat’s paws, as well. If the nation is plunged into civil war — Heaven forbid — he will just be thinking of how much money he can get out of it. IMHO. My point: he is greedy beyond anything the average person can even imagine, and he has no conscience at all. His enemies know that if he wins, they will be forever shut out of the old traditional revolving-door system that meant that all the factions eventually got slices of the action.

    Add the other factors, the succession and the economy, and you have a horrible witches’s brew. Who will help Thailand?? Who will save the Kingdom from itself??

    Opinions, please.

    On a personal level — should I stay here? (grin)

  9. 9 ThaiCrisis 5 April 2009 at 12:17 pm

    My opinion : we shall read again the History classics…

    Nothing has changed over a few thousands years of time, particularily humans. Same feelings, same passions, same faults, same vices, same needs.

    Only fools pretend over and over again that “this time it will be different”. No it won’t. Sorry.

    Thailand experiences the classic struggle between modern and ancient worlds. And we know already the outcome. 😉

    Sorry to write such platitudes. But history does repeat itself.

    Okay enough with the principles, what to do, on the ground ?

    Golden rule 1 : don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. It’s true for assets. But also for ideas, sanity etc. 😉

    Corollary :
    -always keep an escape route, don’t cut all the strings with your homeland.
    -assets : be cautious with fixed assets, keep liquidities.

    It applies to the current problem of currencies for instance : which one to keep ? I don’t want to play Pascal’s wager… I don’t know the future… So I dilute the risks. I keep Euro, SGD, and THB. Old world and new world. I own some gold too. Same with banks : I use several. And I like the idea to have interests into businesses. Businesses that produce things.

    To spread the risks is the only rational way to go under the current situation. Unless you’re a gambler. I’m not.

    I’m not looking to gain. Just to preserve (if it’s possible !) my wealth… Or even : I’m looking to not lose everything. 😉

    Last point : stay aware and humble.

    I don’t want to be wrong of course, but even if I am, at least I would have explored many possibilities. Nothing more annoying, and dangerous, than people who have only certainties. And live by them.

    But in any case, the Kingdom is not burning yet. You still have time…

  10. 10 fall 5 April 2009 at 12:46 pm

    The 8th April is likely the final showdown day, as stated by the RED. Cause they would likely disband and return home for Songkran festival the following week.
    There had been plenty of incompetence and stupidity from Abhisit and the Dem, but not enough fault nor outlandish corruption to justify the RED so-called revolution.

    I’ld say 50/50. Either Democracy or Military dictatorship…

    When blood’s on the street, buy property!

  11. 11 DavidB 5 April 2009 at 12:49 pm

    TC, I agree with much of what you say, in your last post.
    I also agree strongly, with the points an opinions, of Froggy – I have nothing add.
    However, I disagree about Thakisin’s sincerity, mentioned in your earlier comments.
    He is still doing everything, for one person and it’s not the person at the top of tree ot the “Thai people”.
    But, that is another issue, entirely.
    It is for Thaksin and no one else.
    In that, I am sure he is, “sincere”
    The sad thing is,so many people fall for his “victim” lines.
    If he is to be compared to any South American dictator/leader it is more someone like Fujimora. Peron was an authoritarian leader of a different time.
    I am not a student of South American politics, but he is not even close to Chavez, in Venezuala – even if some smart “wizzkid” in his troup pinched the long held tradition in South and Central America, of the RED SHIRTS – example, Venezuala and Peru.
    For Red Shirts, as an example, you can go back, as far as, the Mexican Red Shirts, of Grahame Greene’s, “The Power and the Glory” novel – maybe even further.
    I would wager some of their “charismatic leaders” were/are equally self serving- look where it got those countries along the road to “democracy”.
    So, I guess you are correct in saying “history does repeat itself”??

  12. 12 sammy 5 April 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I saw an interesting letter about Thaksin in the letters section of today’s nation (link above) in which the writer describes Thaksin according to his chinese astrolocial sign. I looked it up and it is true; his sign does say that he would not take a risk, only strike if he is sure he can win. This means that whatever Thaksin has planned, he is sure he can take down the government. My Thai friends have long told me that Thaksin wants to create a single party show democracy modeled after Singapore, where his family owns everything and everyone “votes” according to party line or pays the price for opposing. The interesting thing about the letter today was that it points out people of Thaksin’s sign only care about three things: gaining power, their place of birth (hometown) and their family. Nothing else matters to these people, so you can imagine if his town and family are here and he is sure he can win, he will do anything. This implies great bloodshed because those who oppose Thaksin will definately fight. Even my 23 year old Thai female clerk wants to go to Bangkok and fight the red shirts.

    To Froggy, who wants advice on what to do, I would say never in my ten years here have I seen so many foreigners who actually believe they will soon be kicked out of the country and their wealth confiscated. I met seven! people today who casually mentioned to me they are sure the thais will take their homes and bank accounts and kick them out of Thailand. They are all making plans to move and selling everything. It is like some kind of mass hysteria. I dont know any Thais who think this is going to happen (although it did happen, what, twice in the past 70 years?).

    Gold is good but you need to be sure about the safety of the bank branch you keep it in. Foreign currency ( I go for Swiss Franc, Australian dollar and Japanese yen ) is good but you need to keep it in a Thai bank account unless you are offshore. So, I go with UOB. I figure the Singapore parent company would never let it fail because they would lose face. No way would I keep savings with a Thai bank.

    Let’s face it. not more than 15 years ago this place was a military dictatorship. in 1943 you would not be doing well on your investments here. Before 1930 you were under fuedal rule. Things change suddenly but not without warning. There is no sense wracking your brain about what might happen but may not. Just keep your money liquid and enjoy the present moment. i think that’s all we can do, really.

    May you live in interesting times.

  13. 13 World Insanity 5 April 2009 at 1:50 pm

    THE END OF WEALTH CREATION

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article8734.html

    The attached article on the rise and fall of the Roman Empire is a classic example of Return On Investment (ROI).

    If we are willing to compare the decline of the Roman Empire with the current cultural and economic condition of the United States, Canada, and several nations in Europe, the parallels are too obvious to dismiss. Our manufacturing base is declining, and welfare transfer payments are increasing. There is a call for higher taxes. Aliens flood across porous borders. Corruption and moral decay is not merely the norm, it is defended with emotional fervor.

    The era of wealth creation is over.

  14. 14 Lothar 5 April 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Sorry World Insanity, after the first words i closed the article. We are now living in a total different highly industrialized world with total different problems.

    Trying to compare this with the war driven Roman Empire is simply stupid.

    As for Thailand, i’m afraid that nothing will happen. The red are just not strong enough – not in there minds nor in the numbers of followers. And i haven’t seen any positive sign from the Army yet. As long as they are not in solidarity with the people there will be no coup. Not even one they turn into a blood bath.

    The (unfortunately not peacefull and easy) hope for Thailand is when the old man dies in the middle of the worst economic crisis in decades. Until then – cheerio.

  15. 15 beach boy 5 April 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Thaksin is not a democratic icon but now Thais who are fed up with this old eunuch running the country behind the scene will agree that this country is going nowhere under this pretty face from Oxford. If any of you understands Thai, try to listen to the taxi community radio and you can feel anger is boiling toward the eunuch-led military group which is taking the country to the dogs. 2000 baht ? It’s the tax-payers’ money which Mark gives away trying to win people’s favour but is he successful? Did pro-eunuch daily like the Nation reports that celebrities like Tammy the national tennis player visited the red shirts’ rally and donated some money ? Of course not, but all red shirts know and they do not give a damn to the mainstream media which black out the news. Some pro-eunuch people are now already sleepless to think about what will happen on the 8th !

  16. 16 Lloyd 5 April 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Interesting conspiracy theories but one common point missing, Thailand can no longer survive without international trade, finance and investment and as stupid as everyone seems to think Abhist et al are I seriously doubt they are likely to join the elite club along with Chavez, Mugabe and Kim Jong-II.

    Many of Thailands primary industries rely on foreign investment and trade, any action by the Government to take control of these assets will very likely result in trade restrictions and embargo’s that would do far more harm than would be gained from the seizure of the assets themselves.

    I like many foreigners who have investments and property holdings in different countries are concerned with the current “global” situation however making wild claims about the seizure of property etc does nobody any good and is nothing more than garbage.

  17. 17 Bedwyr 6 April 2009 at 3:13 am

    @Sammy:

    I understand the reasoning behind the fear of ejection and confiscation. But we do not live in the same world now as we did even 10 years ago.

    I do not believe the global community would tolerate this. Tourism would collapse overnight (it would make last year look like tourism heaven), foreign investment would collapse, external loans would be called in. Import band would be imposed.

    In short, the Thai economy would go back to the stone age.

    Now maybe that is what Prem and his lackeys would like to happen but I doubt the majority of Thais (the ones whose political and electoral will has been serially frustrated by these people) would accept it again. I don’t think Thais are in the mood for more of that bullshit.

    Bedwyr

  18. 18 George P Tuckeer 6 April 2009 at 4:02 am

    There may be some bloodshed, but my feeling is that Thais do not have the stomach for real blood (TV gore is fine, though). We’ve seen again and again how the sight of a little blood brings violence to a screeching halt.

    For the foreseeable future, what seems likely is a slow decline rather than any massive upheaval. The resilience of rural Thais to live on sticky rice, nam prik, cheap booze and TV soap operas is underestimated.

    Still, as TC says, don’t burn your bridges, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, and retain an exit strategy. Panic is only for the unprepared.

  19. 19 sammy 7 April 2009 at 1:14 pm

    To Lloyd and Bedwyr:

    I am not saying these things will happen but rather pointing out that many people fear they might and that there is some historical basis.. And as TC has pointed out it is prudent to diversify. Personally, I can see no upside to keeping any assets in the country, so why do it?

    Your analysis about confiscation hurting the country makes logical sense. However, if someone is already wealthy and doesn’t care about the country they might not think logically. Besides, foreigners always come back. Case in point: Thaksin essentially stole ABM Amro’s investment in Bank of Asia in collusion with the Singaporeans but here these dumb Scandinavians are again back investing in Thailand. Or how about the German’s loss on their investment in the sky train financing, back again to bid on more contracts. It is easy to see why the people who own villas in Phuket or Samui or Nakhan Wherever might think if they are forced out by visa restrictions and lose their homes the Thais would later be happy to take title, ease visa restrictions and sell the homes again. It is not that farfetched a fear to be dismissed so easily.

  20. 20 sammy 9 April 2009 at 7:30 am

    Dont know if this is true or the person is just raving mad with anger but I have heard rumors of Thaksin and his father being involved in drugs trade for years. Maybe this is why Thaksin’s England visa was revoked?

    March 2, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    HEROIN DEALER MR SHINAWATRA AKA SILVESTER) FROM WOKING SURREY UK
    If you check with The Surrey Police in the UK via their head quarters at Mount Brown near Guildford and godalming in Surrey they will confirm that a Mr Silvester of Heathside Road in Woking Surrey UK GU22 had his house raided by The Drugs Squad of the Police in the UK after they had completed their surveillance and concluded Mr Silvester was involved in drug dealing specifically the narcotic HEROIN. His name today is Mr Thaksin Shinawatra married to Pojamon Shinawatra who I recall opening the door of their home in Heathside Road Woking Surrey UK when they lived next door to my grand mother Mrs Mamia Henry-Young who died the day after 9/11 on the 10th September 1973. I now believe Mr Shinawatra was connec6ted to her death because he was angry with my father, Mervyn F S Young (whom he also had murdered) who did not like drug dealers especially Heroin Dealers.
    Mr Silvester-Shinawatra had my Aunt Anne Young psycho-terrorised to the point of driving her insane when she was approaching 80 years of age. I believe he was poisoning both their diet and their name. Mr Silvester/Shinawatra spread a rumour that my Uncle Harry was a paedophile this reach the author “Colin Forbes” who has been a friend of the family for over thirty years.
    It seems ex PM of Thailand, Mr Silvester-Shinawatra, has had a large number of people terrorised and murdered outside Thailand as well as within Thailand. The land here was NEVER his land it belongs to Erik Young (John Erik Clive Young) and his family NOT to the Shinawatra family. The same applies in a host of other locations around the World.
    My father was in the Timber Trade specifically importing Chipboard into the UK (23.8% of market share) and had a first class reputation with suppliers, manufacturers and their customers and the local community. From around 1972/73 someone had been trying to sabotage our family’s reputation. It may have been the Silvester family behind the L/C fraud against my father with the Sophonpanich family who also had stoeln and forged land and title deeds.
    Akzo-Nobel were one of my father’s company strategic partners, one of the largest corporate groups in Europe and founders of The Nobel Peace Prize.
    If Thailand continues to damage my family I will arrange to BANKRUPT EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THAILAND WHO HAS HELPED THE SILVESTER-SHINAWATRA MOB… SO DO NOT DO ANYMORE HARM TO MY FAMILY AND DO NOT HELP MR SHINAWATRA AND HIS CROOKED GANG.. http://johnib.wordpress.com/2007/07/03/thai-pm-thaksin-likely-will-stay-away/

  21. 21 ed 11 April 2009 at 11:09 am

    ITS SAD FOR THE 70 % OF THE THAI PEOPLE WHO WERE BRAINWASHED WITH MONETARY PROMISES AND SEDUCTIVE BRIBING BY EVIL THAKSIN,AND HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS,
    I LIVE HERE 4 YEARS …I SEE IT……WHAT THAT EVIL GREEDY MAN HAS DONE TO CONTROL THE LESS WEALTHY AND MORE IGNORANT PEOPLE……HIS GREED IS CAUSING CIVIL DIVIDE HERE…….
    I HOPE FOREIGN COUNTRIES KNOW THE TRUTH AND WHY HE HAS MAJORITY IGNORANT SUPPORTERS…..THEY DO….BELIEVE ME……THAILAND I BETTER WITHOUT HIS KIND OR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS HERE….TRUE


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Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.


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