Redrawing Thai Political Space: The Red Shirt Movement

Chapter
Part of the ARI - Springer Asia Series book series (ARI, volume 3)

Abstract

A new group that has evolved from the supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra following the coup of 19 September 2006, the Red Shirts, has gradually transformed itself into a political force in defense of equality and justice in Thailand. Consisting largely of people from the countryside, this new “grassroots” constituency has benefited greatly from Thaksin’s populist policies and programs. However, they have felt cheated when their elected government has been forced out of power by the coup and later, attacked by protests from the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and by an increasingly activist judiciary. Thaksin’s populism, coupled with the Red Shirts’ rallies and campaigns, has raised the political consciousness of the new “grassroots,” providing them with a new political subjectivation and, hence, making them a new political subject in Thai politics. By calling for equality and justice for all Thais, the rural-based Red Shirts have entered into forbidden territory hitherto reserved solely for urban Thai elites. They are trying to disrupt the prevailing hierarchical structure of inequality between the rural and the urban in Thai society maintained by the urban elites. The Red Shirts are in the process of redrawing Thai political space to make themselves fully counted and, thus, heard.

Keywords

Urban Poor Political Subjectivation Military Coup Lower Middle Class Rural Electorate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Political ScienceThammasat UniversityBangkokThailand

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