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Thailand, popular movements, 1980s-present

Pierre Rousset


During the 1980s various social movements appeared in Thailand for democracy and against capitalist globalization, including village organizations to preserve forests, peasant struggles against construction of dams, and workers' mobilizations for higher wages. Nevertheless, in the early 1990s these popular movements lacked national coordination, due to the demise of a left political party (revolutionary or reformist) with a significant national influence. The decline of the Thai communist insurrection paved the way to new conflicts within the dominant class, opening a new political cycle of resistance, which crystallized over the question of the constitution. In the late 1970s, after five decades in power, the army maintained considerable influence. With a thousand generals, the army's presence was felt throughout society. A growing segment of the “civilian” bourgeoisie sought to diminish this influence and was also worried about the increasing economic strength of the royal family. This wing of the civilian bourgeoisie wanted its political clout to correspond to its economic power, and sought to eliminate the burdens imposed by administrative bureaucracy, red tape, commissions, and subcommissions. Seeking to open the country to foreign investments, it criticized the inefficiency of some 70 state enterprises. In unison with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, it ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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