Fah Diew Kan

Latest Fah Diew Kan - Volume 6, No. 1, January-March 2008

Fah Diew Kan continues to fearlessly examine Thai society from a left-leaning point of view. Often the press quote police sources saying certain issues are banned, but this usually means the sale of the journal is restricted to certain university outlets.

The first quarter issue is no exception, bearing a quote from Rama VII: Is this country ready to have a representative administration? For my personal opinion... I confirm that NO - Prachatipok

Here are the contents of the issue:


Editorial - page 16

Letter to the Editor - page 18

Reaction - Answer to the reaction false reading or being blinded by the myth? By Boonlert Wisetpreecha - page 22
Glossary of social movements - Horizontalidad by Pakawadee Veerapaspong - page 32

No wing on the left - Laos: Reserving economic power for the prosperity of Thailand by Supalak Kanchanakhundi - page 36

Down-to-earth money - Debts – A vicious circle or an essential evil? By Sarinee Achawanankul - page 48

Special report - Violence: “Hide-Seek” Thai society - page 66

“The discussion on the Royal Institution with the Public is a possible matter” -
Questions and answers with Thongchai Winichchakul amidst the celebration of the King’s Diamond Jubilee. The yellow shirt trend reflects that the Royal Institute means a lot to the Thai society. So, why any public talks on the institute is prohibited? Meet Thongchai Winichchakul, an ‘outside’ academic, who will answer the question and will also tell about the current status of Thailand, the studying about the Royal Institute in Thailand and critics on the hottest book of the year - page 94

Under the same sky (Tai Fah Diew Kan)
Domestic - page 58
International - page 234

Criticising Thai studies - Reading, criticizing and questioning with Pak Kai and Bai Ruang by Weerasak Keetiwaranont - page 210

In trend - An anticapitalist party and the gathering of movements in France by Piyamitr Leelatham - page 242

Critical Thinking - “Knocking down the revolution – Ruining the Khanarat (people’s party)”: The foundation of the Constitutional Monarchy system” by Nattaphol Chaiching
After the 1932 revolution by the Khanarat, the foundation of the new system did not go smoothly. Nattaphol shows us the image of the anti-revolution movement by the Kings and a royalist group. He explains their political movements – both legal and illegal – to regain the power and cultural and traditional movements to seize the meanings and create stories, in a bid to destroy the righteousness of the 1932 revolution. The actions led to the foundation of ‘the blue system’, hidden in a form of the ‘constitutional monarchy’ system - page 104

Lese majeste by Somchai Preechasilpakul - page 148

Lese Majeste law and self censoring by Pravit Rojanapreuk - page 158
The lese majeste was originated from the absolute monarchy. Its significance has not dropped, although the political system changed. Particularly in the military junta era, it is found that the terms of punishment for lese majeste crime became more severe. Until now, the lese majeste law has become political tools as well as obstacles to the freedom of thoughts in the democratic society. It is clear that the law will face opposition. Somchai Preechakul and Pravit Rojanapruek will show you the origin, operations and the opposition to the law.

The government’s educational role: Key tasks and a political economy analysis by Wiroj Na Ranong - page 172

Why do we have to create the ‘welfare state’ in Thai society” by Keng Kitirianglab - page 195

The left page in the history - The 1932 revolution in the viewpoint of the Communist Part of Siam by Thanaphol Eiwsakul, Thawatchai Tulathol - page 250

Farmers, labour, military and the poor of Siam! - page 266

Announcement of the amendments to the Constitution by the new government - page 267

Survey of Fah Diew Kan - Volume 2, No.4, October-December 2004

Below is a survey of the Thai-language political quarterly Fah Diaw Kan and its main editorial. Originally, it appeared this issue would be a major source of discussion in the lead-up to the election with its left-leaning articles in this time of extreme nationalism and its cheek in including a copy of the Takbai VCD despite government threats.

However, since the tsunami hit, Thaksin has reached new heights of popularity with his active handling of the crisis and media reporting of the disaster has all but overshadowed more prosaic election news.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to hear from what is increasingly the 'old left' as public opinion swerves to the right.

Also: Nationalism and Right-wing Politics
Also: Troubles in the South

Index of Fah Diaw Kan
short summaries of some of the articles)

* How do you know that you know and how do you know that you don't know?

* Challenge the current trend of intellectuals in Thailand and neighboring countries
A talk about intellectuals in Thailand--about means and ideas, comparison to other countries, and how to bring the intellectuals to adapt to a new decade. This includes the idea that intellectual should be on international level to make people recognize facts, but some situations cannot use intellectuals--as in the case of the Pakmoon Dam problem where there is a fight with the government.

The word "intellectual" is used in many meanings in daily life, social movements, in the constitution, in government or private projects and even to promote goods and tourism. It seems that these activities of intellectuals conflict with the right goal of intellectuals. So we should survey and review this word with the idea, practice or process involved with intellectuals in society. Why intellectuals change and how it should compare to other countries should be studied also. Finally we should review and survey how to bring this word to use in this new decade.

* Watch out for FTA
[the Free Trade Agreement]
The FTA is called a one-way ticket to the blues because the government made the Free Trade Agreement without passing through the process of Parliament although there were demands to educate people in public. So a tragedy will happen soon.

* Special report - Dignity for the world
Since the beginning of Thaksin reign to now (January 2001-November 2004) there are villagers leaders, environmental activists, and human rights activists who died--18 persons. Fa Diew Kun collects 18 stories of the struggle of these people such as lawyer Somchai Nilapaichit who was kidnapped, and Chaloen Wataksorn who was shot at Bor Nok. Hopefully this will help it not happen again and give some support and help to the families.

* The feeling Inside of Thai people who pity the nation

* Art & Earth

* The Song of Daraung [short film that won an award from 'Ethnology in Motion']
This film tells the story about war, migration and suffering. It is about being driven out, arrested, with no nationality and being marginalized. Daraung, a member of a minority group in Burma, loves peace and still dreams of a better life in a world where everyone is equal. This film is an anthropology experiment and quite a new idea in the Thai anthropology sphere and Thai film makers.

* Criticizing views and opinion of people who criticize society

* The 30 year lesson of farmers and the agriculturists' movement
A review of the experience of Thai social movement (farmers, agriculturists, villagers and poor people) in the last 30 years (1974-2004). These people are disadvantaged and society has not been concerned with them--especially in the populism of Thaksin era.

* Neo-liberal state human resources and community

* Duzungyor Rebels - political history
On April 28, 1948, the rebels of Duzungyor were fighting between the Thai government and Malayu Muslim villagers at Duzungyor, Nartiwat Province. This situation seemed like a rebellion of farmers and it was alleged that they were misguided to take up arms and fight the government. The bearing and attitude the Thai government took to solve this problem was the same as present--they did not accept the Muslim problem in the South was a political problem and the government insisted to solve it with the military and extreme violence.

* Reading Thomas Paine in the stream of right-leaning Thai nationalism
Thomas Paine is an intellectual who participated in the American Revolution in 1776 and the French Revolution in 1789. Dr. Jai Ungpakorn suggests reading "The Rights of Man” by Thomas Paine. In this time of political crisis, Thai society leans to the right and to nationalism. This book will stimulate ideas to evaluate the positive and negative of royal regimes and republics all around the world.

* The alternative political party in Germany
This article describes the biggest labour movement and new political party in Germany since the Berlin wall came down. This can be related to the Thai social movement which has come to a transition that may mean the start of an alternative political party beyond the existing political parties.

* The new anarchists

* Left page in the history

* Statement for the 30-year anniversary - The crystal of revolution thought of the Communist Party, Thailand
A statement for the 30 year anniversary says that the Communist Party pays an important and role to widely disseminate information to all members. It is a summary of ideas, theory and the way of revolution of the Communist Party which the party has maintained since the outlawing of the of party in the 1970s.

* The statement of the Central Committee of the Communist party, Thailand on the 30th anniversary of its founding
Thirty years ago was a time of honor for us. We brought the general facts of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong to weld with practical aspects of the Thai Revolution. The party incited the masses and took them to fight with national enemy for the independence of the nation and democracy of the people. During fighting, although some members died and some were arrested, the Communist party still makes a stand and leads people to fight with resolution. [This is describing the time during the late-1970s.] The Communist Party is a lamp that will light the way.

Editorial of Fah Diew Kan
The political options in the case of Southern problems
[This is the main editorial of the magazine.]

No matter how the government has reassigned military commanders, the deep crisis in the southern border provinces is far away from peace. In the past three months, the biggest event that shook Thai feelings was the violence in Takbai, Narathiwat on October 25, 2004.

In our opinion, the government must absolutely show responsibility for Tak Bai since 6 died during the protest and 79 died during the control by officers. There is no reason for government to refuse that responsibility. That event was not just the deficient practice of the military which the government tried to investigate, but that tragedy clearly show that, in government’s eye, the 1300 detainees are not humans or citizen who have equal dignity. They were treated like animals which been carried for brutality.

The facts that the government tactic to use violence is not enough to ease the situation in the southern border province. A significant problem for the ones who want peace is to consider is what most Thai people thinking and feeling. Most Thais supported and agreed with the government and officers' actions. This been seen on radio programs, opinion polls, friends' conversation, or web boards on many websites.

Moreover, some are not satisfied with the action and think that the government was weak in solving the southern problem. Or else they propose the officers use the more decisive methods and they also criticize academics or other movements who demand a peaceful way.

This kind of feeling and thinking is one of factors that supports the violence that the government practices in the southern border province, isn’t it?

This kind of feeling is expanding and pushing forward the daily killing of prime movers and nowadays nobody comes out to take responsibility or declare their objectives.

Meanwhile, the violence from the government helps push the moderate Muslim Malayu in the area to join with violent groups.

The gap in society that pushes people from two sides makes Thai society, especially in the South, a most worrying condition.

Mr. Kasien Taechapira asked in his article “After the death in Takbai” (Matichon Daily, November 5, 2004), that “both terrorists and the policy of repeatedly mistaken violent action of the government is taking the southern border province of Thailand and us in a bloody slide to where?"

So, for those who want peace, how we will we unravel the problem?

We need to brainstorm and review the past when people who need freedom try to press governments to stop violence and use a peaceful way. Why did they not succeed? What is the weakness and the threat?

On July 16, 2004, a seminar was organized by Fa Diew Kun and the Information Peace Center, Political Science Faculty, Thammasat University called “People's suggestion on the deep crisis situation in the South." Here are their suggestions.

1. For people who stand in the middle and have no side to choose, we should show power to resist unfairness and violence from both sides. The moral principle that we demand of the government, we should also demand of the terrorists and communities in southern border provinces. We may ask whether there is another way to fight which does not kill people.

2. We may set a political option for people who neither are with the government nor the violent group, because both have choices that are a military way. Mr. Kasien Taechapira offered a way for political reform in the South in order to offer a choice for making peace with everybody and every religion. It can start from taking the proposal of political reform in the South from history--in the form of the “7 demands“ of Hayeesurong Abdulkade. These were proposed to the Luang Thamrong Nawasawad government in April 1947. [Does any reader know what these seven demands are? The article does not specify.]

Add to this the summary of problems and demands that the Deputy Prime Minister, Jaturon Chaisaeng, received from the commune society of three provinces in the South. These should be brought to many sectors to discuss and find ways to adjust these demands to be harmonious with the situation that has changed.

3. Do not learn to use a gun. Peace can occur by people power.

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