Friday, May 23, 2014

Thailand: Defeat the Coup d’etat! Polemic and Program - A Response to the RCIT


The RCIT analysis of the pro-Thaksin government overthrown by the Thai military invests bourgeois democracy with real democracy it never had and this is methodologically of one piece with their previous errors.

The RCIT (Revolutionary Communist Internationalist Tendency) never tires of displaying their semi-Cliffite understanding of the actual democratic content of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. Everywhere they invest elected governments with a democratic legitimacy. It is no accident that they have never been able to bring themselves to criticize the Workers Power (L5I) position of support for Yeltsin in 1991. In Yeltsin they saw the promise of greater democratic rights and opportunities for self organization of the working class, completely misunderstanding the true obtaining situation as a contest between two capitalist restorationist forces for the leadership of the counter-revolution against all survivals of the October revolution.

More recently we have seen the RCIT invest the Mursi government of Egypt with a similar democratic legitimacy based on a popular vote. That this election was a set up and that the real power was the deep state that has ruled Egypt at all times since 1952 makes no impression on our Viennese semi-Cliffites. The reassertion of direct control by the Egyptian Army high command (SCAF) was for the RCIT a military coup of the character of the Greek Colonels of 1967 or the Pinochet coup of 1973. The RCIT initially called for a Untied Front with the Muslim Brotherhood in defense of the Mursi government. Shortening their jib after this gaffe, they still continued to call for the restoration of the Mursi government claiming it was democratically elected and called for a united front to accomplish this restoration, and failing that called for a constituent assembly to assemble democratic forces to fight the “coup.”

The May 20th coup by the commanders of the Thai army is indeed a military coup by any classical criteria. Nevertheless, we are not champions of the kind of “democratic elections” that bring pro-Thaksin Pheu Thai party politicians to power, anymore than elections that lead to Democratic Party governments. It is not permissible for socialists to call upon the workers to shed their own blood for the defense or the restoration of any of these “democratically elected” governments!   You cannot pass off any such call as a Leninist United Front tactic. This has nothing to do with Lenin and everything to do with Menshevism, Kautskyism and even Stalinism. We reject the agency of alien class forces and institutions as the necessary precondition for entry of the masses onto the revolutionary road.

It is non-dialectical and it is schematic in the extreme to keep repeating this idea that the workers movement must pass through a stage of bourgeois parlimentarism when concrete conditions show that the bourgeoisie has no especial confidence in or patience for bourgeois parlimentarism. Not only will they not fight for it themselves, but in the general world crisis of capitalism they find “democracy” unnecessarily expensive and dispense with it at their earliest opportunity. Trotsky in 1938 thought bourgeois democracy might prove too expensive even for the bourgeoisie of the U.S.A. In the concrete circumstance of the masses own discontent with the Thaksin dynasty to call for the restoration of the status-quo ante is to pronounce a retreat in a revolutionary advance.

To make this criticism does not mean we reject correct slogans which are easy enough to raise. In this case where a real military coup d’état has taken place it is correct to organize a revolutionary constituent assembly for the defense and extension of real democratic rights and based in the real organizations of the working class and the peasant masses.

The coup shows that bourgeois democracy demobilizes the workers while the ruling class factions do deals over their heads. The interests of workers are to fight for workers democracy by mobilizing for a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly (RCA) and Workers and Peasant Government.

Still we wonder why the RCIT raises a special slogan for the establishment of a republic? What would the class character of such a republic be? And what does the establishment of a republic have to do with the permanent revolution the world has seen many dictatorships that have been republics. The whole history of the west is littered with them. Connelly’s program for a workers republic in Ireland and the Socialist Republics of the USSR were qualitatively different than any republic established by capitalists.   The five republics of French history have solved none of the problems of humankind’s future existence. So this is not an idle question for us. We wonder while reading the RCIT’s program how many stages the workers must endure before they can establish their own state.

In place of this call for an abstract republic we suggest that what is needed right now are military blocs with anti-coup d’état forces to defeat the coup. We say this with the understanding that it is only the socialist revolution that will suppress the power not only of the army command but of those who organized the coup and for whom the army works at all times. Until bourgeois power is suppressed by socialist revolution another military coup is always possible as demonstrated in the modern history of Thailand. What are required above all are the organization of worker and peasant councils and militia and a convening of their delegates in a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly and an indefinite general strike to pull the economic rug out from under the military coup.
  • Defeat the reactionary coup d’état! Prepare for mass demonstrations and an indefinite general strike!
  • Organize workers and peasants councils.
  • Form up soldiers councils elect your own officers and abolish the authority of the army command and the constitutional court!
  • For a Revolutionary Constitutional Assembly controlled by armed, mass organizations of the workers and peasants!
  • Repudiate the reactionary constitution! Publish all secret treaties. The Thaksin government has a worldwide reputation for corruption; open the government’s books.
  • For the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a workers’ and peasants’ republic!
  • Expropriate big business and nationalize the banks! Place large industrial and service enterprises under workers’ control! Nationalize the media under workers’ control!
  • Expropriate the big landowners and distribute the land to the poor peasants!
  • Unconditional support for the right of national self-determination for the Muslim people of Patani in the south of Thailand
  • For a Workers’ and Peasants’ Government!
  • For a Federation of Socialist Republics in South-East Asia!
  • For a World Party of Socialism!

Statement of the LCC 052214

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