Part 2 of this article can be found here.
Today the BBC's Bangkok correspondent, Jonathan Head, raised the issue of the Succession that will follow the death of Thailand's elderly king as being the determining factor in the present political crisis that is gripping the country.
I've long thought the idea that the "Succession" issue is determinative of the present Thai political crisis as being based on the kind of lazy analysis which seeks to avoid the tougher questions required by a more complete historical and political investigation.
The main agent in pushing this theory is quite well-known for attacking anyone who dares challenge him on the Succession theory - something he has sought to claim ownership of - and given that most challenges come from the fascistic end of the political spectrum that might be an appropriate response.
However, it is my view that by purely focusing on Succession to such an over-determinative level the debate on the Thai political crisis is being skewed away from a more in-depth analysis and, in fact, actually plays into the hands of the very fascistic/ultra-royalist forces that Succession Crisis-platform claims to oppose.
For a start claiming that the "Succession" is THE determining factor in the present Thai crisis doesn't explain 80years of attacks on Thai democracy, 18 coups, several massacres and many constitutions. Where was the present Succession crisis when Pridi was ran out of Bangkok, when Sarit took power, when the guns were turned on the pro-democracy activists in 1973 and 1976?
Furthermore does anyone seriously believe once the Succession issue has been resolved - and I mean in either direction - the Army and the billionaires backing the PDRC are just going to allow democracy to flourish unchallenged? Does anyone seriously believe that the USA are going to stop using Thailand as the SE Asian pivot from which to play their vicious strategic power games? Will the CIA torturers, the arms dealers, the criminals, the gold hoarders just decamp? Will the Thai generals, the Democrat Party fascists and the monarchy network all suddenly embrace democracy and allow accountable civilian rule to take root?
Of course not. And it would only be the most delusional naif who would think that is the case.
Thailand's present crisis is rooted in a long-term political and historical struggle and can only be analysed via that prism not via the social media marketing strategies of those who want to sell their latest book however well-intentioned they might be.
Arguing that "Succession" is the ultimate crisis in Thailand would be like a bunch of chickens debating the importance of which kind of predator is coming to devour them. Ultimately, the "Succession" crisis is meaningless when the wider context of power is considered. In effect, the real crisis is not a "Succession Crisis" but a "Democracy Crisis".
I certainly don't claim to have all the answers and do believe the Succession is a genuine crisis for certain groups in Thailand but, in my view, believe that pushing the debate into this one determining direction will ultimately deny the opportunity for a wider analysis to take place and for the answers to Thailand's crisis to be found.