Robbing People’s Power & Giving Nothing Back

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Robbing People’s Power & Giving Nothing Back
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Robbing People’s Power & Giving Nothing Back

Written By - Patra Manas. 09-11-2020.

Thais who desire ‘true’ democracy look at the US elections with envy and hope. 

Envy because even in America’s darkest hour, we know their country’s strong and invincible democratic system will pull through, enabling them to move out of crises and rebuild their nation again.

Hope because we have just started our fight towards ‘true’ democracy and it may be awhile before we can break this vicious political cycle but we yearn for it to happen.

What is the key ingredient that makes democracies like America work? An understanding that people may disagree on how a government should work but the rules to get politicians elected are fair and just for everybody. The rules are unbreakable and on this every American agrees.

Democracies promise political power to the people and guarantee justice.

It’s about the power of the people. 

As Americans are beginning to move out of the tunnel and see light at the end, Thailand is still stuck in the darkness of the tunnel.

Protestors are still fighting for the birth of ‘true’ democracy in Thailand while supporters of the military- backed government, a network of royalist groups have said, they intend to submit letters to the prime minister and army chief to call for a power seizure. 

On what argument do military-back government supporters feel they have a right to hijack Thailand’s democratic system?

Supporters of the military-backed government say Thailand is unique, we have our Thai way and it’s complicated. It’s complicated only because we want it to be complicated. If it is transparent how will the elite and the establishment retain their control of power and the country’s assets?

Our country’s 1% owns 67% of the wealth in our country while 99%, us, the common people, scramble for the rest.

Six years of a military-backed government has given nothing back to the 99% while the 1% seem to be grabbing more of the share everyday.

Recently, the Office of Trade Competition Commission (OTCC) approved conglomerate Charoen Pokphand’s acquisition of retail giant Tesco Lotus.

The acquisition will dominate the market segments of wholesale, discount and convenience stores, where small and medium-sized enterprises will be adversely effected especially in the provincial areas.

The Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group is one of the big business families that backed Thailand’s military aligned Palang Pracharat, when the party organized a Chinese- style dinner for its closest big business allies to raise money for the elections in 2019. 

Supporters of the government say Thai people are immature and can’t handle ‘true’ democracy, best to leave it in the hands of the ‘Pooyai’ (elders and elites) they know better, look at China and the economic progress they have made without being a democracy at all; democracy is over-rated. 

If we wish to ape another successful country’s ideology, there’s nothing wrong with that, but we shouldn’t do it superficially. There’s something fundamental here that we need to understand. The ruling party of China may have taken political power from their people, i.e. they can’t vote for the party they want but they have given tremendous economic power back to their people. The rise of China did not happen by accident but by design.

The path of economic progress for their countrymen was meticulously and painstakingly crafted by the government over years and decades, making them a formidable rival to America in the race for economic and technological supremacy today.

Let’s put it this way. If China was to hold elections today, the ruling party would in high probability be voted in, with Xi Jinping as their leader. Despite foreign hostility, Xi Jinping has now promised his people that China’s economy will double its size by 2035 and become a high-income country by 2025.

Which Chinese people in their right mind would think of voting out such a party?

Other authoritarian regimes exist too, like North Korea, who have taken power and given nothing back to the people.

Which country’s economic path do the military-backed government supporters think Thailand will take, if their support of a power takeover by the military bears fruition?

The moral of the story? In today’s world, governments in countries, based on whichever ideology, must give political or economic power back to the people. 

This can only be achieved if the government is competent and able and there is an implicit promise of delivering economic power to all the people and not just the few.