For several weeks now, the people of Bangkok and 15 other Thai provinces have edged dramatically closer to all-out bloody revolution.
With a rapidly-growing population of 66 million people, the southeast Asian country is both a democracy and a constitutional monarchy.
The problem is, however, is that the now-beleaguered nation has not known both peace and justice simultaneously for decades – since long before the U.S. first ventured into Vietnam.
Although nominally a democracy, it seems every time the populace elects a new government, that government is quickly ousted either by a military coup or by the courts.
And that’s when the monarchy – or at least its revered and long-serving but ancient and ailing king — has generally come forward to negotiate an arrangement most can live with.
Thailand is a country that has grown relatively wealthy in recent decades. But, as in many other countries, the impoverished majority is not welcome to share in this relative prosperity.
So they elect political parties that promise change. But if change is forthcoming and that change does not suit the elite, it is quickly aborted.
The Red Shirt protesters now occupying a large portion of downtown Bangkok and eliciting popular support across much of the country represent a broad swath of that impoversihed majority.
But as with many revolutions and near-revolutions, the shit has hit the fan before the majority has been able to reach a consensus on what kind of society they want to have afterward if a possible revolution succeeds.
The protesters range from committed communists to right-wing populists. And between those two extreme are a great number of people who are simply fed up with all politicians.
If push comes to shove and the current regime is toppled, will there be democratic elections? If so, who will win? And will there be another military coup or some grand “legal” intervention to replace a populist government with a more complaisant one? Indeed, if there is a revolution, is there enough staying power and social cohesion to defend that revolution?
If not, what happens then? If so, what form will the government take? What will be its true goals and aspirations?
Having witnessed the failure of Communism, as well as of the capitalist twins of NeoLiberalism and NeoConservatism, it is becoming increasingly evident to those who really follow global affairs that in both the short term and the long term, Democratic Socialism may be the only viable solution to the problems of Thailand – or of Canada, or of the U.S., or of the rest of the world.
The question is: How can we get there when corporate financing of so many electoral systems has totally corrupted and obviated any possibility of true democracy?