Following the Election Commission’s decision to file criminal charges against him with the Constitutional Court, yesterday Thanatorn Juangroongruangkit tweeted, accusing the “political system” as having “failed”, both in terms of “justice” and “legitimacy”.
Key words, political system. Not just General Prayuth Chan-o-Cha. Not just the Palang Pracharat Coalition Government. But the entire political system.
In another tweet, he said that it’s not enough for the people to demand General Prayuth’s resignation, but Thailand must reform the entire political system, including the judicial system, the justice system, the army and the constitution.
He further said that the present political system cannot accommodate the people. That instead of using time and resources to solve problems, such as COVID-19, the government uses time and resources to destroy opposing political views.
A oligarchy ruled by military elites
As argued in yesterday’s article, 10 years imprisonment, Thanathorn’s true crime — in the eye of the ruling regime — is demanding for “change”. But change to what? It is no secret, Thanathorn wants a democratic political system.
What is democracy? Democracy is a highly-flawed political system subjected to abuse and corruption by people and politicians. It is a political system that can be quite annoying, not to mention downright nauseating. But still — in so far as check & balance, justice, transparency, accountability, rights, liberty and equality go — democracy is the best system mankind has ever created.
But change from what to democracy?
The Thai political system is an oligarchy ruled by military elites, with the support of wealthy tycoons (for concessions and monopolies in return). It’s a system that declares itself “defender of the monarchy”, thereby claiming traditional legitimacy that goes back 800 years to the time of the Sukhothai Kingdom.
The military oligarchy rules Thailand for the past 88 years since the 1932 Revolution.
But let’s change “military” to “generals”. The military is some 500,000 soldiers, most of whom are regular folks — with little power and less say-so in anything — not unlike the rest of us in this country. .
It is not the military that rules. It’s the generals who rule.
Rebelling against the generals
To change this system would mean the generals can no longer call the shots. They are not going to give away power so easily, not after 88 years of being in charge.
To change the system means the generals would have to take orders from the civilian government. What if that civilian government is headed by some idealistic, loud-mouth kid named Thanathorn? Can you imagine the face of Army Chief General Apirat Kongsompong, taking orders from Thanathorn?
To change the system means the generals can no longer hold the three southern provinces as their own personal fiefdom. It means transparency and check & balance in military expenditures.
To change the system means to reform the military itself.
To reform the military is to undermine the power of the generals, not just within the military, but over the entire country. To reform the judiciary means the generals will no longer be protected. To reform the justice system means the generals will no longer enjoy double-standard. To reform the constitution means no 250 handpicked senators and a funny calculator.
One would have to be intergalactic-level naive, if one were to believe this is just about a celebrity gossip magazine, a personal loan or the illuminati. This is about the one thing that matters the most to the generals: Their power over the Kingdom of Thailand.
To change the political system, is to take away the generals’ power. Therefore, the generals will get Thanathorn first, because if they don’t, eventually democracy will get the generals.