Academic: Red-shirts must move on

The progressive wing of the red-shirt movement must break from the elite-compromising United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and the ruling Pheu Thai Party to become a push factor in the transitional democracy of Thailand, according to Nidhi Eoseewong.

  • Published: 21/02/2013 at 06:08 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

The renowned historian and thinker was speaking at the "Art for Freedom of Political Prisoners" exhibition launched at the Pridi Institute Thursday.

Nidhi Eoseewong (Photo by Phrakrit Juntawong)

Mr Nidhi spent an hour explaining precarious trends for Thailand's democracy if the elite ruling power did not make any timely adjustment.

The suitable time for adaptation was perhaps gone as the liberal royalists have been reluctant to act on certain moves including supporting the lese majeste and charter amendments, said Mr Nidhi.

Both the yellow- and red-shirt movements have also faced spiralling downturns and lost steam, the Chiang Mai-based scholar said.

Yet he believed the red-shirt members seem to have the ability and legitimacy to move forward on the unfinished course of democratisation.

"The lower middle class -- featured mainly within the red-shirt movement -- do not have so many radical political demands such as calling for tax equality which will affect the business sector, so they should and could expand their alliance to include the white collar sector which also wants democracy," suggested Mr Nidhi.

He noted that artists, writers, academics and even bureaucrats should also be embraced to push for a more democratic agenda which was badly needed during this political transition.

"The most important thing is that the red-shirt movement has to show that they do not answer to the politicians," he said.

Mr Nidhi said Thailand was unlikely to see a charter amendment that would create a paradigm shift. Even the ruling party was making compromises with the old elite power.

About the author

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Writer: Achara Ashayagachat
Position: Senior Reporter

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