by Tammy, this blog humanity journalist
I just got back from my New Year celebration that as some of you may suspect and got it right, my New Year was filled with wild and kinky sex.
But I also got to meet some new friends, a few Americans and a few Japanese, and they tell me that they are confused of who the Red Shirt are. So I just want to give you, Thai Intel readers, a quick brief of who makes up the Red Shirt movement and its strategic leaders.
Jai Ungpakorn: My favorite is Jai, not because of his position on Thailand being a republic, but because he is a staunch socialist who speaks his mind bravely. Inside the Red Shirt movement, there are many who follow Jai, but Jai’s position on the Republic issue, means that he very much had to be quiet and toned down and had to leave the leadership circle-in the open that is. But whatever Jai is, Jai is a strong believer in the Democratic process and human rights, and because of that, for many years, he rejected the Red Shirt. When he joined, he said all liberals of all creed must join to fight the Amart rule of Thailand. I like those words very much.
Taksin Shinawatra: I kind of like Taksin because namely he just goes on fighting against all odds taking the blows and all the failures, but never quits. Taksin is an odd guy in that he is a right-wing who can abuse his power, but then a far right as he is, he still believes in Democracy-at least much more than the typical Thai politicians and those in the Amart class. Taksin has the money and the management capability, both important to the Red Shirt movement, but Taksin can be weak in strategic thinking-namely in under-estimating his opponents.
Sae Daeng and Panlop: These two have a track record against human rights the likes that equal the Yellow Shirt. I don’t like that at all, but both are sort of cute in the way they go about using their extremist total war attitude and challenge the greater evil of Thailand, being the Amart rule of Thailand. So I really don’t know if these two guys are the good guys or are they the bad guys. But they seem to be helping out a lot in organizing the Red Shirt into a military-like machine. Loads and loads of Red Shirt like these two guys a lot.
Jakrapop: This is the respectable international face of the Red Shirt, sort of the public relations man. But Jakrapop has solid theories behind his PR and the international press loves him. Like Jai, Jakrapop is in exile out of Thailand. But Jakrapop is not as strong a Republicanism as Jai, but simply calls it as he sees it. Jakrapop has some very strong following in the Red Shirt movement, particularly the very highly educated middle of the road Red Shirt. He gives credibility and solid meaning to the movement for many.
The Three Front Man: The official leader of the Red Shirt is these three front man who you see at the Red Shirt press conference all the time. There had been a running attempt to organize the red Shirt leadership structure into a committee like shield, but apparently, that will make it difficult for people like Taksin and Panlop to lead it-especially with some serious protesting ahead that will require very strong command and control. So basically, there three leaders are the mediator between the Red Shirt popular support and the true leadership of the Red Shirt. Some say that the three are not the best minds of the Red Shirt and at times goes off the bend of reasons. But I think it is important for the Red Shirt movements to look totally insane and wild.
Chaovalit Yongchaiyuth: Chaovalit qualifies for a Red Shirt leader because he is helping Taksin in strategy and so as Taksin is the main guy at the red Shirt, Chaovalit therefore has to keep tabs on the Red Shirt and include its force potential into his game plan. But do not expect Chaovalit to strike a pose as a Red Shirt. He is a bit more behind the scene key figure than an up-front type of guy. Chaovalit is a strong believer in finding a political solution for conflicts and rejects the warfare rationale as only the last resort option. Chaovalit brings to Taksin, a much needed strategic direction and ficus.
Chaturong Chaisang: Chaturong is the academic and theory-based leadership of the red Shirt movement, that is the only guy who comes out and say that Taksin is only one of many leaders of the red Shirt. That has got Chaturong into some hot water before, but Chaturong has many followers in the Red Shirt, especially those who wants Taksin’s interest and the Red Shirt interest separated out. Chaturong is in-tight with Thailand’s leading scholars on liberal thinking and is the key link to some very high-up in Thailand’s class system who believes in Democracy.
Military-Infusion Red Shirt: Apart from Sae Dang and Panlop, a great deal many former military people are now clearly in the Red Shirt movement. Their involvement appars both opportunistic and reaction to Amart prosecution of their careers. To bunch their philosophy into a theory, it probably is the Democratic Soldiers-that clearly distinguishes them from Sae Dang and Panlop who are far right. Their rise in the Red Shirt movement at this point is muted, as Nationalism ferver and extreme Royalism grips Thailand and so it could leave them exposed to the “Traitor” stigma. But I suspect that this group will sooner or later emerge as very powerful force in the Red Shirt movement.
Thai E-News Red Shirt: Thai E-News readers are the educated and middle class populus core supporter of the Red Shirt. Asked how they feel about things, many of these says they think the Red Shirt movement needs to focus on Democracy and social justice-and not the Taksin issue. This group is made up of mostly Red Shirt in Bangkok and their position is similar to Jakrapop and Chaturong positions. They like frank and open talk. And they are mostly neutral on Republicanism. These make up about 20% of the Red Shirt.
Community Radio Red Shirt: Red Shirt community radio followers are a strange bunch, but are the core of red Shirt popular support. They make up about 80% of all the Red Shirt. They can be extremely Republicans to extremely Socialist on the verge of Communism. They can be as poor as anything, but also many are rich independent business owners outside of Bangkok. The singularly unifying factor in this group is Taksin and Democracy. This is very important because if Taksin is not kept in check by this massive fan base, Taksin may go off to the far right with Sae Daeng and Panlop.
Taksin Twitter Red Shirt: These are breakout-in-the-open Taksin worshipers, but it is odd that Taksin twitter gets about 40,000 followers and so we are talking about a great many Taksin fan in the Red Shirt movement here. Terry, this blog editor is a Taksin fan. But I am not. I like Jai, Charturong and Jakrapop much more because I think putting down the foundation for Democracy, is the most important thing for Thailand. But the Taksin Twitter seems to say that so many Thais are still willing to put it all on Taksin’s hands and follow him.
Summary: I may have forgotten a few but please forgive me, my head is still in those wild and crazy tents at Doi Inthanond, with all those wild and crazy guys and gals like me.
But to summarize, there are far right, middle of the road right, left-wing, Republicanism, democratic and human rights activist-all the way to Communist in the Red Shirt-including off course Taksin worshipers, in the Red Shirt movement. The singularly uniting factor, as far as my opinion is concerned, is the “United Hatred” of totalitarianism and the class system.
I just wonder and worry that if the Red Shirt win power in Thailand again, where on earth will Thailand head?
I mean, sure, Democracy will prosper with the People’s Constitution back. But will it be a right-wing, a middle of the road, a semi-socialist and communism state, or will it be sort of compromise state. But what ever it is, it will be better than this crazy and stupid military back government of the Amart class.