The big red rally

The topic is extensively covered in all the media, discussion boards, blogs, whatever. I just want to add my two cents.

First, this time it looks like the rally is going to happen, after about a dozen postponements.

Second, it will be a do-or-die event. If they can’t force the government down via street protests now they’d have to find some other ways, most likely through parliamentary politics.

Third, last week it seemed like the government lost the momentum, previously they managed to stave off the threat by invoking internal security act and putting in place solid preventive measures before people made the decisions to go. This time they were a bit too late, though they stepped up the preparations and Abhisit has canceled his trip to Australia.

Fourth, the pickup trucks. I must admit that this is a really ingenious idea, Bangkok can cope with a hundred, even two hundred thousand of peaceful protesters, but the trucks ought to really bring it to a standstill, far worse that pre-Songkran road blockades last year.

Yet the trucks are also the most vulnerable point – they are private property and I bet the owners are not prepared to take any risk of damage. The threat of fork lifts is serious, the only protection is the crowds chasing their drivers away, but if it fails and the authorities manage to remove even some trucks and damage them in the process, the rest of the owners will quickly drive away.

Wonder why reds are not calling on taxis like they did last year? I bet the cabbies are not so excited about sacrificing their cars for a cause anymore. Trucks, of course, can also bring people to the rally, but, on the other hand, if they are leaving, so are their passengers.

If the government thinks up some effective way to deal with the trucks, like forklifts backed up by armed soldiers, the drivers might even decide not to come and the rally might not even happen.

The other worrying aspect is the reported lack of organization among the reds themselves. The only guaranteed way to keep peace is the strong leadership keeping the crowds under control in the face of all kinds of provocations and explosive rumors. Reds cannot win the fight with the army, they don’t have control of the mass media and the government is sure to paint them in a bad light and justify the military action. It is entirely possible that the violence could be provoked by someone on the government side as a pretext for the crackdown, reds will still be doomed, even if innocent, and history will be written by the victors.

Without strong organization reds have a very slim chance of keeping their rally peaceful, imagine a several thousand mob, entirely on its own, somewhere like Laksi, being confronted by police or soldiers. That’s a recipe for disaster, rumors will spread like wildfire, and without strong organization and leadership the rest of the red army might just go berserk all over Bangkok. When they go on rampage over a wide area they can inflict a lot of damage before being contained. Forget a million or two hundred thousand, even some fifty thousands roaming the streets is a really scary thought.

Another problem is that many of the reds, brainwashed by their propaganda machine, might think they’ve got nothing to lose and go for it anyway, in the name of “revolution”.

Yet another problem is that there are plenty of red elements who are actually looking for trouble, there’s also a school of thought that violence is what is needed for the red victory, that Thaksin himself wants red blood to provoke a military crackdown that would justify a full blown fight from which he hopes his side will emerge victorious.

Apparently red leaders themselves are counting on this scenario, judging by this report on Absolutely Bangkok. Well, they can win the first few skirmishes with the army, especially if they engage them in a multiple locations and fully utilize their numerical advantage, but they can’t hold Bangkok for any period of time, they don’t have resources for that and they won’t have any moral support among the occupied Bangkokians, too.

That’s the worst scenario, the best, as I mentioned, is if the government finds a way to discourage pickup drivers from coming. Reds then can rally on foot, express their opinions and outrage, whatever, time for street revolutions have passed and they’ve got a lot of work to do to go mainstream, they are just not ready to take over the country.

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3 Responses

  1. […] another blogger says: “Time for street revolutions have passed and they’ve got a lot of work to do to go […]

  2. […] Thai Politics does not think that the Red Shirts are ready to take over the leadership of the country Well, they can win the first few skirmishes with the army, especially if they engage […]

  3. […] Thai Politics does not think that the Red Shirts are ready to take over the leadership of the country Well, they can win the first few skirmishes with the army, especially if they engage […]

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