The US government just announced today that it condemns the coup in Thailand and that it calls for the “return of democracy” as quickly as possible. King Bhumibol sees it otherwise. The king endorsed today the bloodless military coup that ousted Thaksin. The king also agrees with Gen. Sonthi’s plan to restore civilian rule within a year. Do these announcements make Bush more “democratic” than King Bhumibol?
To date, no foreign government who denounced the coup demands the return of Thaksin.
Many bright minds were trained to think that anything that goes beyond “democratic means” is political adventurism. It won’t be surprising to hear assertions that Gen. Sonthi’s coup d’etat is well beyond “democratic options” or “democratic processes”.
Let’s call a spade a spade. The recent Thai coup went beyond so-called “civilian rule”, which reads as-- neoliberal bourgeois rule. If there is “elite democracy”, there are also “elite democratic processes”.
I understand that political adventurism constitute two things. First, is that political adventurism stems from lack of principle that owes to the absence of representation from one’s constituency. Second, political adventurism seeks the transfer of political strength or power to a class or social constituency by a political force that is basically disconnected from such a constituency.
Through his strong cultural sway, King Bhumibol legitimized the coup in behalf of the “people”. The scrapping of the 1997 Constitution served elite political factions as well. Gen. Sonthi and his followers, acting as a political force with coercive capabilities, represent the elite factions disenfranchised by Thaksin.
From a bourgeois elite viewpoint, Gen Sonthi’s power grab is definitely not political adventurism. Thailand ’s deepening crisis of bourgeois elite democracy can no longer be resolved by Constitutional means because the Constitution itself served as a barrier for the elite’s survival. The crisis is threatening the state itself.
The power grab was meant to save Thai bourgeois elite democracy. The US and the rest of Western powers should in fact be thankful of the coup. More than a year of Thai martial rule can plunge the Thai economy into recession. It will only be a matter of months when things will normalize and the financial markets will open up for foreign capital to wallow in.
The Philippine case paints a different landscape. When patriotic and progressive officers and rank-and-file of the army and police forces take the side not only of the people but also of the masses, when in both words and deeds they launch coordinated direct actions founded on progressive wisdom to dismantle elite rule and establish a new order in favor of the masses—what they demonstrate then is not political adventurism, but revolutionary fervor.
Doy Cinco /IPD
Sept 21, 2006