New social contract of Thai society in transition
Four years of Thai society under National Peace Corps, I did not surprise the National Peace Corps can stay in power for long time like this, but I surprised the Thai society more. At first, I was so naive that I thought the National Peace Corps could stay in power less than six months. But I was wrong. I do not think that Thai society will accept this outdated authoritarian regime. But after one year I began to understand more. Thai society today is not the same as the year 1992. Unlike when pushed the 1997 constitution. Some people ask why Thai society is changing in a seemingly backward way? I do not want to use the word 'backwards'. I think Thai society is in transition. There is a tendency to change in anyway. It can go in the way back to keep it unchanged or maybe it can go to change. I cannot predict how to change that. No one guesses the future. It is not the only change that has been made in the past. It is an alternative route.
In this transition phase. Conflicts are equally powerful both. People who want to change is increasing. In the same time the people who do not want to change Which has more power in the past reduced size. Now they are balancing each other. So Thai society in the new social contract It can go anywhere.
Where the casting point??
I still cannot see the casting point right now. It is a power struggle between the two parties in the equal power. A group that does not want to change is conservative or the group cannot adjust the way of benefit when the things change. Another group is groups need change because If it stays the same, they will lose benefits and their opportunities in life will disappear. In fact, the people who want to change are not democratic or progressive groups, but society has moved to the point where old-style resource management with old-fashioned political power are no longer works.Now both groups are equally powerful.
Example, The Election issue
The parties who do not want to election (support national Peace Corps) they want to remain their power and keep their throne in eternity but in the fact, they know that they cannot stay in power long time without made election. But after the election already done, they must think how can they will prevent them from the old gaining power? They use the way to protect by write new constitution and keep it remain at least 20 years and it helped a lot. But at the same time. If they allowed to election They have to get rid of the group who against the National Peace Corps from the beginning.
In the same time the parties who want to change (Against the Nation Peace Corps) they want to amend or abolish this constitution. They have seat in the council the vote to support them at least half of the council but the problem is that the parties who want to keep unchanged (Support n ational Peace Corps) They also have seat in the council half of the council too!
But there is another group. There are outnumber more than two groups. “The group does not care about politics or power or the future of Nation”. They are interested in the benefits of their own and their families. They are group who can support their own interests. No matter what the outcome of the fight will come out.
What is picture in the future the party that wants to change (Against the National Peace Corps) want to see? This party grow up with the state foster them not the politician foster. There were many projects to enter the village are employed with money from the state to flow into the village a lot.
So, what they want is money from the state to flow into the village, Government welfare, Equality. These people discovered that they could set the state money flowing to him and the village and they wanted to keep that power.
What is interest in “The group does not care about politics or power or the future of Nation”?
This group of people is not aware of the need to take in them own life to risk in the political. They have several groups like in the village and in the city and the capitalist group. In the past the capital group Especially, big capital stayed and related in this group. But now they are not stay in this group anymore.
Recently, I just understood that Thailand's large capital group is a non-moving capital and They often intervene in to the politics. Unlike the moving capital group which will not intervene in to the politics. Because their voice is very loud.
Example: Assuming that I am an investment company in many Southeast Asian countries and If the Thai government does not grant tax privileges for my company then I moved my company to another country. The Thai government lost its benefits. Because there are thousands of unemployed. When my voice is loud I do not need to buy a politician.
Most of the capital in Thailand will not move because There are no countries will give the opportunity to make a high profit as Thailand even our wages are more expensive than our neighbors but the we have other advantages which better than other country. This is the reason why Thai capitalists are involved in politics. They give money to politicians and support the political party and Because of this the public capital group are very rich. And that’s why These groups see that the change will make them lose the benefit.
This is the first time that capital groups, especially large capitals, have been volunteering with fullest conservatives the parties who do not want to election (support national Peace Corps)
Why People Still Support The National Peace Corps?
The middle-class people in the countryside chasing up. In the new liberal era the most unstable in life is Middle class. The rich, the elite, are already comfortable. But the bottom level I will have a very difficult life. In Thailand do not have much peoples who are very good in their work until make many of company offer the high salary and good offer.
There are many of the middle class who have not stable life Their skills are outdated in a blink of an eye.
Why the national Peace Corps can stay in the power very long time? What is the righteous foundation that sustain them? It is not a righteous foundation, but a base for the insecurity of Thai society in transition.
The explanation of the social divide It's a reason, but not a real cause. Those are the phenomena that help keep the national Peace Corps in power. But If you ask me, Are they lucky? I am not so sure about it, in this situation can be a coup at any time.
Conservative groups consist of many people. To make them all happy is impossible. That why we see some of them occasional offensive to national Peace Corps and if they see that they the need to adjust new national Peace Corps group, they will do. Because The conservative group did not give a damn to the national Peace Corps group. But he was afraid of the obvious changes. Which is happening right now, and they must stop it.
Thai society is changing. Not just changing currently but they changed to ten years ago. But it started to affect politics and economy more. Until some groups feel that they need to be maintained and not to change in the same time Some groups think that they need to change.
Is the national Peace Corps only one option for future?
I think It can be anyone who can stop the change or change in the direction that can maintain the interests and powers of the conservative group. But what is worrying for me is trying to stop the change. If you do succeed, it's okay. But if it fails, the longer the day it will be greater the chance of bloodshed.
How performance of the national Peace Corps was this past four years?
Many of the project have successfully, Example such as the Special Economic Zone along the border. I believe that even the elected government cannot do it. The Special Economic Zone in Southeast Asia is the exploitation of resources that small villagers use. There is no special economic zone to share benefits in all completely. But in today's world. The territory you can expand your investment is doubled. No need to be Thailand only, so political which calm and able to guess the future. It is very important. The method used by the national Peace Corps For example, the power of Section 44 does not allow anyone to predict what will happen in the future.
In fact, the Investors do not care about tyranny, but It must able to predictable then they can managed their capital. That is the heart of the investment.
If you ask today Investors will really invest money in Thailand? The answer is No. But they will only be asking for benefits from BOI. (Board of Investment) and they do not invest anything until the day can predict the future. How do you give investors billions of dollars to invest in unpredictable countries?
The dictator has some weaknesses. These powers will destroy themselves. If a dictator is as stable as the past the Investors will not afraid because they can forecast. But if it is the dictator as the national Peace Corps which can change any result anytime depends on the social.
It will be come the worst dictatorship. Because cannot expect any result.
How far Thai politics will be backwards?
Society is complex. Because there are more diverse groups of interests. The best answer is “democracy” Although the Prime Minister often change. Example In the post-World War II period, France changed his Prime Minister every two months. But everyone knows how it goes on.
In Thaksin government Even though Thaksin is bad. If I were a capitalist. I still know that knows that there are some rules in the democratic system that cannot be violated.
Example: Authorities may secretly receive money from capitalists to make the race unfair If caught. They must resign and get prosecuted. But today It does not go the same way at all. All line is disappearing.
Because of the world is inclined right? The whole world Democracy is challenged?
I'm not sure that the right of the whole world is against democracy or neo-liberalism. The People who choose Donald Trump many of them have not less studied. They Believe in the freedom of the, Constitution of the United States But they have bad life in the past 10-20 years, they did not block democracy but obstructing the neoliberal approach, so I do not think that democracy will despair from the whole world as we speak.
The reason is that democracy or the democratic government cannot stop the unfairness neoliberal. People hope it has a magical power which Ordered to have a free study. Fight with the new libertarian which can say “The study is product” Then you can run to find it. But sadly, People are not philosophical democrats which will believe in the supremacy that will help fight the new libertarian.
In this case Can Thailand compare to the world?
I am not so sure. The supporters of the dictatorship in Thailand are those who have benefited from the new liberal. They are religious advertiser 'Market is God' Do not go insulting the market. And The people who claim to support democracy or the lower-class people are always attacked by the new liberal. I think the problem in Thailand is different to the western world. Middle class and Hi Class people do not want people with lower education, Lower honor compare with them. In the era that General Prem they take money down the village the people cannot see it but right now they see it all. Example: 30 baht policy to treat all diseases, Housing Fund, the peoples feels that the Thai government has provided all the guarantees since 1932 Start shaky.
In the transitional politics
How can Thai society create new consensus or new community contracts?
When talking about consensus, we are referring to multi-party characters who have same opinion in every benefit of their own. The society which have highly disparate, as Thai society is difficult to have consensus. This is the reason why Democracy is work in Thailand. You probably do not have much consensus, but the proposal was cut and amend until all party able to accept. There is no way to use Section 44 power forever. Thailand have complex society. There is no other way. It must be democratic. Even the Fake democratic that is fine!
Will this election serve as a stepping stone to building a new coalition or a new democratically elected community?
Right now, they are in process to the Tactics game “gather Member of Parliament “and seems that’s go well and workable.
In the past, villagers or middle-class people in the village had two options. One Is the choose the party which it chooses by policy from the party but if the policy is not effective they will choose a person instead and use the Member of Parliament to put budget or money to them.
But Currently, Policy is not available anymore. Because the national Peace Corps wrote a national strategic plan for you 20 years. Incase of the peoples who are not so innocent they will understand that the national Peace Corps may able return to the original game as the past anytime by hoping for money to flow into the village through the person.
The peoples who sell votes are not because the villagers only need a few hundred baht, but It is a connection that draws resources into the hands from many ways. If we look in this case Both ways are two tactics for you to choose. Even It the result will be similar. Although not good enough to the way to gather Member of Parliament But it will affect to the national Peace Corps can maintain his power on.
Even Thai have the election. The road ahead is still rough?
There is no way to have smooth road and simple paths for sure. To create a community contract is a must have a fight, no shortcut. Thai society has never do really community contract. We use old traditions. Old belief and old values to teach our children to see how the community contract will be and should be. But now Thailand is changing more deeply than the change of people. Even if you catch the old tradition stuffed into the textbook of the Ministry of Education It cannot be set to stable. The old way of working is not working anymore and The new way was never done before.
If we really want try to make a new community contract. I think the democratic process must be implemented. 2-3 things are sacred cannot harassment, example The election cannot canceled Even you make a coup. Including the protection of civil liberties. These are important issue to concern. This process will makes the authority cannot absolute power. Power must be able to flexible. Although the elastic power may be worse. But it will not make peoples kill each other.
Elections will be gradual be a part of the creation of a community contract. Example the Policy 30 baht treatment of all diseases even we will change many government they will not able to cancel it. It will become an public agreement. At least The Thai welfare insurance is all about public health.
How important is the constitution to create a new community contract?
I think we need New Constitution, Political parties that do not join all parties must have this contract. In the end, we must have the Constitution Drafting Assembly. But how it will start I do not know. May be Some of them will propose to return to use the 1997 constitution. Or the 2007 constitution Then add a chapter to have the Constitution Drafting Assembly To draft a whole new constitution. Because the current edition cannot make nation move on. If this government continues to exist. They need more power and It will be ruined. Fast and hard. Four years ago I think This government is less power.
How do people vote in a new election?
It is very funny to say that I really want to hear the voice from our peoples. But the problem is the people do not know how to make their voice to be hear, how to vote it, So they need the peoples will are the middle man to communicate on behalf of them, we call them “The party”.
If the political party cannot communicate voiced from the people that voice will go down and disappear. So that is very important that the political party must know how to make a noise for the people, I hope that new political parties will be clever enough to know how to communicate the voice from the people and understand what peoples really want.
What is the political situation after the election?
If the election results that people do not want the national Peace Corps anymore, Conservative groups would think to change the person in teams of the national Peace Corps until the peoples in Thailand will accept and support. I think they never change their thinking or their policy they only change the person.
After the election, the National Peace Corps will had 250 senators. They have a military party, There are political groups like NAVIN CHIDCHOB and SASOM SAB families support them. Even Pheu Thai Party and Prachathipat party will cooperate that still hard to win in this election. Even they win in the election. The government still not stable because they can be destroying anytime If the government are diagnosed not to follow the national strategy that government must resign.
The national Peace Corps has a chance of staying at least 50% But after election the the national Peace Corps will not able to use Section 44 so it will be very hard to Survive in the political game.