Peasants and the redshirt movement in Thailand: some dissenting voices – The Journal of Peasant Studies, January 30, 2014
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…Atayasai revealed that five of his neighbours, all peasants over the age of 60, joined the redshirt protest in Bangkok in April 2010 in return for 500 baht/day. According to him, they did so not because they were redshirt supporters, but simply because they had ‘free time’ and wanted to contribute to their households’ incomes. Atayasai fumed: ‘This is what redshirt protesters are – jobless people looking for short-term employment. They’re not different from workers who migrate to Bangkok and return after a few months’. He continued with an unconfirmed yet widespread rumour that once his neighbours reached Bangkok, their ID cards were confiscated by their leader. If they returned home without permission, they would not get their ID cards back. ‘They were like slaves’, sympathised Atayasai (16 May 2010). Playing the devil’s advocate, I commented that the few protesters I interviewed in Bangkok emphasised their ‘voluntary’ participation. Atayasai replied: Don’t believe that. That’s what they’re instructed to say if outsiders like you approach them. That’s part of the conditions for employment. … Just think. [Atayasai’s neighbours] are poor. One cannot pay land rent. Another is struggling to pay for his kid’s education. … Would these people go to Bangkok just to protest?…
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