You are here

Thailand

, The Big Story: Global Climate Protests, Guardian Weekly, 2019, pp. 10-14

Covers the demonstrations by school children and students in an estimated 185 countries with a photo of a protest in Nairobi, Kenya, and an overview of the protests in their environmental and political context. Coverage also includes brief statements from young activists in Australia, Thailand, India, Afghanistan, South Africa, Ireland and the US; the speech by Greta Thunberg to the UN Climate Action summit in New York; and 10 charts explaining the climate crisis.

See also: Milman, Oliver, 'Crowds Welcome Thunberg to New York after Atlantic Crossing ', The Guardian, 29 Aug. 2019, p.3.

Reports on Thunberg's arrival in New York where she was to address the UN Climate Action summit on reaching zero carbon emissions.

, Meet 15 Women Leading the Fight Against Climate Change, Time, 2019

This article notes the disproportionate impact on women of climate change in many parts of the world and the recognition of this fact in the UN Paris Agreement, which called for empowerment of women in climate talks. It also points to the prominence of women in the struggle to limit climate change, and selects 15 women from round the world playing varied roles, including Greta Thunberg.

Baker, Chris, The 2014 Thai Coup and Some Roots of Authoritarianism, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 46, no. 3, 2016, pp. 388-404

Baker argues that the purpose of the 2014 military coup was not only to end the influence of the radical Thaksin forces, but also to entrench authoritarianism.  He stresses the role of 'the professional and official elite' in promoting the coup and examines authoritarian tendencies in Thai politics and in Bangkok's middle class.

Boonyarattanasoontorn, Jaturang ; Chutima, Gawin, Thai NGOs: The Continuing Struggle for Democracy, ed. Boonyarattanasoontorn, Jaturang, Chutima, Gawin, Bangkok, Thai NGO Support Project, 1995, pp. 188

Boyle, Peter, Students Lead New Wave of Democracy Protest in Thailand, Green Left Weekly, 2020

Reports on the wave of student protests across the country since the July 18 rally in front of the Democracy Monument. Focuses particularly on a protest on 19 August by thousands at Thammasat University in Bangkok (which has iconic significance in the history of Thai pro-democracy struggles), the largest of many student-led protests that day.

Buranajaroenkij, Duanghathai, Political feminism and the women's movement in Thailand, Bangkok, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2017, pp. 40

By taking into consideration the impact of social and political unrest and conflicts over natural resources and the environment on the lives and livelihoods of Thai women, this paper proposes four areas through which gender issues can be strategically politicized and based on feminist principles and approaches: 1) Public communication through social media to deconstruct gender mystification; 2) Educational programs to uncover intersectional strife (e.g., involving gender, national origin and class) in care work from a feminist perspective; 3) Application of gender diversity as an analytical framework for sustainable national economic and social development policy-making; 4) Creation of spaces for women’s political participation and for legitimizing women’s political participation outside the formal political system to ensure women’s right to self-determination as dignified members of society.

Callahan, William A., Imagining Democracy: Reading ‘The Events of May’ in Thailand, Singapore and London, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1998, pp. 199

Chambers, Paul, Book Review: Divided over Thaksin: Thailand's Coup and Problematic Transition, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 2010

This review provides a useful overview of the deep divisions in Thai politics between the supporters of the radical populist Thaksin and the strongly opposed conservative royalist groups, leading to the 2006 coup and conflict between the 'Red Shirts' and 'Yellow Shirts'. 

See also: Funston, John, ed. ,  Divided Over Thaksin: Thailand's Coup and Problematic Transition, Singapore, Silkworm Books, 2009, pp. 203.

The book grew out of seminars on Thai politics at the Australian National University in 2006 and 2007; it has six chapters on the 2006 coup and constitutional issues arising, four on the sources of the growing radicalism in the rural and Muslim south of the country, and three on economic issues.

Eckersley, Jo, King and Country, New Internationalist, 2015, pp. 38-40

The article draws on interviews with Thai citizens to discuss why, a year after the May 2014 military coup, there were no protests in a country known for its activism on the streets. It outlines the extent of strict censorship and the draconian sentences, which could be imposed for insulting the king, and stresses the links between the 87 years old monarch and the military, dating back to a coup in 1957.  Eckersley also looks back to the 2006 military coup against the Thaksin government and the violent suppression of Thaksin supporters in 2010, but suggests the death of the reigning monarch could precipitate change and expose the state as a 'naked military dictatorship'.

Elinoff, Eli, Subjects of Politics: Between Democracy and Dictatorship in Thailand, Anthropological Theory, Vol. 19, no. 1, 2019, pp. 143-149

An anthropological approach to explaining why the Thai military has tried to 'silence' politics, focusing on the emergence of the poor as political actors and the fears generated by this development. The article is based on research into squatter settlements on railway tracks in the provincial capital Khon Kaen demanding land rights (with support from NGO activists), between 2007 and 2017. 

Feigenbaum, Anna ; Frenzl, Fabian ; McCurdy, Patrick, Protest Camps, ed. Edwards, Michael, Gaventa, John, London, Zed Press, 2013, pp. 272

Examines protest camps as key tactic of movements from Tahrir Square to Occupy Wall Street; includes Red Shirts in Thailand and teachers in Oaxaca.

Gaber, Katrina, Contesting the Thai Hyper-Royalist Nationalist Imaginary through Infrapolitical Everyday Resistance Online, The International Journal of Conflict and Reconciliation, 0

This article focuses on the internet, not as a tool for mobilizing open protest, but enabling 'covert, individual, non-ohrganized' resistance in a repressive context.

Haberkorn, Tyrell, In Bangkok: Remembering the Tak Bai Massacre, OpenDemocracy, 2009

Haberkorn recalls a massacre of peaceful protesters in the Muslim-majority south in October 2004 after a declaration of martial law. He argues the failure of the state and courts to hold any official accountable for 78 deaths demonstrates the country's 'deepening crisis' in which the International Crisis Group reported (22 June 2009) over, 3,400 people had died.  

Haberkorn, Tyrell, The Anniversary of a Massacre and the Death of a Monarch, Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 76, no. 2, 2017, pp. 269-281

Haberkorn begins by describing a photographic exhibition at Thammasat university of the massacre of students there in October 1976 in connection with a military coup. The exhibition in October 2016, which commemorated the fortieth anniversary of that tragedy, had particular resonance in the context of the 2014 military coup and the death of the king after 70 years on the throne in 2016.

Hewison, Kevin, Political Change in Thailand: Democracy and Participation, ed. Hewison, Kevin, London, Routledge, 1997, pp. 301

An overview of society and politics in Thailand. The Introduction briefly discusses the background to May 1992. Andrew Brown, ‘Locating Working Class Power’ (pp. 163-78), challenges the mainstream interpretation of May 1992 as an expression of the increased power of the middle class and civil society groups, which demonstrated the absence of working class power, suggesting commentators have an over-simplified model of united working class action.

Hewison, Kevin, A Book, the King and the 2006 Coup, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 38, no. 1, 2008, pp. 190-211

Hewison assesses a biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which the palace tried to suppress, and which examines the king's role in Thai politics and in the moves to suppress Thaksin.

See also: Handley, Paul, The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand's Bhumibal Adulyade, New Haven Conn, Yale University Press, 2006.

Hirsch, Philip, The Politics of Environment: Opposition and Legitimacy, In Hewison, Political Change in Thailand: Democracy and Participation (E. II.10.a. Demanding Democracy 1973 and 1992), London, Routledge, pp. 179-194

Examines growing significance of environmental movement in Thailand since the success in stopping proposed dam in 1988.

Jumbala, Prudhisan ; Mitprasat, Maneerat, Non-governmental Development Organisations: Empowerment and the Environment, In Hewison, Political Change in Thailand: Democracy and Participation (E. II.10.a. Demanding Democracy 1973 and 1992), London, Routledge, pp. 195-216

Analysis of two case studies in Thailand: the Raindrops Association encouraging villagers to resuscitate the natural environment; and the opposition to planned Kaeng Krung Dam.

Kasian, Tejapira, Toppling Thaksin, New Left Review, no. 39 (May/June), 2006, pp. 5-37

Analyses social and political context and mounting opposition up to April 2006.

Lertchoosakul, Kanokrat, The White Ribbon Movement: High School Students in the 2020 Thai Youth Protests, Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 53, no. 2, 2021, pp. 206-218

The article draws on interviews with 150 university and 150school students, focus groups and observation of 16 protests to ascertain why high school students joined the demonstrations.  The author concludes that they were rebelling both against conservative, authoritarian and repressive educational systems, and against political institutions - especially the monarchy.

Ockey, James, Thailand in 2020: Politics, Protests and a Pandemic, Asian Survey, Vol. 61, no. 1, 2021, pp. 115-122

Ockey notes that the Covid pandemic interrupted student-led protests for constitutional reform.  When they resumed students demanded not only constitutional amendments already being considered by parliament, but the resignation of the prime minister, dissolution of parliament and reform of the monarchy.  He notes fears of violence between students and royalists or security forces. 

Paisal, Sridharadhanya, Catalyst for Change: Uprising in May, ed. Paisal, Sridharadhanya, Bangkok, Post Publishing, 1992, pp. 116

Paribhatra, Sukhumbhand, State and society in Thailand: How fragile the democracy?, Asian Survey, Vol. 33, no. (September), 1993, pp. 879-893

Phasuk, Sunai, Thailand's ‘Bad Students’ are Rising Up for Democracy and Change, Human Rights Watch, 2020

Report on student-led pro-democracy protests in Bangkok and at least 20 other provinces, calling for new elections, a new Constitution and reduction in the dominant role of the Thai monarchy.

See also: '#WhatsHappeninginThailand: 10 things you need to know', Amnesty International, 6 November 2020.

https://amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/11/whats-happening-thailand-10-t...

See also: Selway, Joel, 'Thailand's National Moment: Protests in a Continuing Battle Over Nationalism, Brookings, 2 November, 2020.

https://www.brookings.edu/nlog/order-from-chaos/2020/11/02/thailands-nat...

Phoborisut, Penchan, Thai Youth's Struggle for Democracy may Fizzle but Political Contention Continues, East Asian Forum Quarterly, Vol. 13, no. 2, 2021, pp. 21-24

Almost a year after protests began, the author reports on the detention of political activists, but also the evolution of decentralized networked forms of communication to promote mobilization against the Thai establishment.

Pongsudhirak, Thitinan, Thailand since the Coup, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 19, no. 4 (October), 2008, pp. 140-153

Samudavanija, Chai-Anan, Thailand, In Altbach, Philip G., Student Political Activism: An International Reference Handbook Westport CT, Greenwood Press, , 1989, pp. 519, pp. 185-196

Covers student activism in the 1960s and 1970s.

Schock, Kurt, Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Nondemocracies, Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 2005, pp. 228

Seeks to address the lack of explicitly comparative analysis of how nonviolent methods promote political transformation. Examines success of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa (1983-90), and pro-democracy movements in the Philippines (1983-86), Nepal (1990) and Thailand (1991-92), and explores failure of such as movements in China (1989) and Burma (1988). Lists major actions in each movement. Includes analysis and criticism of ‘consent’ theory of power.

Translations: Spanish
Schock, Kurt, People Power and Alternative Politics, ed. Barnell, Peter, Randall, Vicky, In Barnell, Peter ; Randall, Vicky , Politics in the Developing World Oxford, Oxford University Press, , 2008, pp. 496, pp. 186-207

Pays special attention to Ekta Parishad (an Indian land rights organization), the Assembly of the Poor in Thailand and MST in Brazil.

Searight, Amy, Thailand's First Elections Since Its 2014 Coup, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2019

An analysis by a bipartisan US policy research institute of the forthcoming March 24 2019 elections, including the junta's rules governing them and the parties participating.

See also: Hannah Ellis Petersen, 'Junta Finds New Ways to Win an Old Game', Guardian Weekly, 21 December 2018, p.21.

See also: 'Final Election Results Leave Thailand  Divided', The Diplomat, May 2019, pp.5.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/05/thai-final-election-results-leave-thaila...

Sharp, Gene, Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice and 21st Century Potential, Boston, Porter Sargent, 2005, pp. 598

An abbreviated and slightly modified version of Sharp’s general argument in The Politics of Nonviolent Action. Includes 23 brief case studies of campaigns from the Russian Revolution of 1905 to the Serbian people power of 2000 (some written by Sharp’s collaborators: Joshua Paulson, Christopher A. Miller and Hardy Merriman).

Sinpeng, Aim, Hashtag Activism: Social Media and the #FreeYouth Protests in Thailand, Critical Asian Studies, Vol. 53, no. 2, 2021, pp. 192-205

The 2020 protests were the first major pro-democracy demonstrations in Thailand mediated on Twitter. This article examines how activists used hash tags in the early phase of the movement, and argues that they developed collective narratives and spread information, rather than using Twitter to organize protests. The focus within the #Free Youth campaign was on criticism of the government and calls for democracy, creating a 'pro-democracy collective action framework'.

Sivaraksa, Sulak, Loyalty Demands Dissent: Autobiography of a Socially Engaged Buddhist, Berkeley CA, Parallax Press, 1998, pp. 248

Sivaraska (an ‘engaged’ Buddhist) is a prominent social critic, who dared to compare the military to ‘termites’. Edits the journal Seeds of Peace, which comments on problems in the region.

Sopranzetti, Claudio, Thailand's Relapse: the Implications of the May 2014 Coup, Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 75, no. 2, 2016, pp. 299-316

The author notes that at first the May 2014 coup looked like a re-run of earlier coups which resulted in short term military rule and an interim government, but the strength of repression and reorganization of  power soon indicated a more major shift  towards permanent authoritarianism based on new class alliances.  He explores how this new phase has its roots in the earlier development of Thai politics in the 20th century.

Swamy, Arun, Book Review: Future Forward: The Rise and Fall of a Thai Political Party, Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 2021

Future Forward was founded as a political party before the 2019 election and managed to come third in the polls, after the junta-controlled coalition and the pro-Thaksin party. It was led by former student radicals who had become successful (key leaders were an industrialist, law professor and TV journalist) and aimed to change the nature of  Thai politics. A year later the government banned it.  Swamy provides a useful summary of the book and its aims, and his own critique - he argues the authors do not explain the continuing strength of the Thaksin party.

See also: McCargo, Duncan and Chattharakul Anyarat, Future Forward: The Rise and Fall of a Thai Political Party, Copenhagen. Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2020, pp. 240 (pb).

Tegbaru, Amare, Local Environmentalism in Northeast Thailand, In Kalland; Persoon, Environmental Movements in Asia (C.1.a. General and International Studies), London and New York, Routledge,

Weiss, Meredith Leigh ; Aspinall, Edward, Student Activism in Asia: Between Protest and Powerlessness, ed. Solomon, Clare, Palmieri, Tania, Minneapolis MN, University of Minnesota Press, 2012, pp. 318

Comparative examination of student-led protest challenging governments in Asia since the Second World War, with a focus on Burma, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines

Zunes, Stephen, Civil Resistance against Coups: A Comparative and Historical Perspective, ICNC Monograph Series, Washington D.C., ICNC, 2017, pp. 104 pb

Zunes provides detailed case studies of civil resistance to military coups in recent decades.  His aim is to advance an analysis of the role of civil society and nonviolent movements in resisting such takeovers, and the role of international pressure and solidarity by both governments and activists. Eight coup attempts defeated by popular resistance are analyzed, including Bolivia, 1978, the USSR 1991, Thailand 1992 and Burkina Faso 2015, as well as four in which resistance did not succeed. Available in PDF at: https://www.nonviolent-conflict.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/ICNC-Mono...

***

See also Vol.1. E.II.1.c. Burma: Resisting the 2021 Coup, which covers the mass popular mobilization against the February 2021 coup by the Burmese military junta.