Anon Nampa has been talking about putting one million people in the streets for some time now. It’s not happening. He has been talking about raising the ceiling. But raise to where? Protestors are already banging their heads against the ceiling with monarchy reform.
All the issues raised by the protestors are worthy. Their fight is courageous. But other than talking dreams and ideals, they also have the power to make at least one reality happen.
Sooner rather than later.
On the evening of 23 June 1932, the Siam Kingdom went to bed as an absolute monarchy that governed the land through feudalistic governance. On the morning of 24 June, the kingdom woke up a constitutional monarchy. A year later, it became a military dictatorship.
If Twitter existed back then, no doubt #WTFjusthappenedinSiam would be the top trend. 88 years later, we realized what happened.
We had a political change without a cultural revolution. Hence, we are a nation governed by a monarchy/military oligarchy for most of our modern history. It’s a model state for the 12th century, not the 21st century, or the 20th century for that matter.
So the wave of cultural revolution propelled by the youth-led pro-democracy movement is long overdue. Six months ago, no one dared to discuss the monarchy. Today, public discussion of the monarchy is normalized.
But if you’re a key democracy activist, then Section 112, the lese majeste law, has also been re-normalized for you.
Let’s turn one dream into reality
Cultural revolution is long-term. In the meantime, a new crop of military chiefs has just been sworn in as senators, ready to select General Prayut Chan-o-cha in the next general election. That’s the reality.
The protestors are fighting every battle. They are also losing on every front. Monarchy reform isn’t going to happen any time soon. General Prayut isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, nor is Section 112.
There’s a logical step to make real changes happen.
If the protestors want to get rid of General Prayut and someday achieve monarchy reform, they must put democratically-minded people in the government. The only way to do that is through the general election, which will happen in less than three years.
However, the only way to have a chance at winning the general election is to first and foremost hit delete on the power of the 250 junta-appointed senators.
To hit delete on their power, the people must put every pressure possible on the government and the constitution-drafting committee’s formation.
This is the one issue that even the shyest, most timid, and most mai-pen-rai silent majority Thai can go: “Yeah, they should GTFO.”
With one single, achievable issue that touches everyone’s sense of justice, perhaps the protestors can inspire the silent majority to unzip their lips.
It may or may not bring a million people into the street, but it can get enough people out and create enough nationwide pressure to force General Prayut to make this compromise.
One issue. One purpose. One direction. Win this one battle, and the path will be opened to other victories. Don’t win this one battle, and it will be four more years of #WTFishappeninginThailand.
In 2020, the cultural revolution began in earnest and will continue for years to come. In 2021, the people have the power to change Thailand, one step at a time.
Start with the 250 junta-appointed senators.