29 June 2017
For Thailand, June 24 this year marked the 85th anniversary of the 1932 revolution that ended the absolute monarchy. Economic problems as a result of the Great Depression, rapid social changes, and frustration at the privileges enjoyed by the upper class were commonly listed as reasons that led to the revolution. Arising from the revolution, “Six Principles” were promulgated to reflect goals based on people’s power, national security, economic welfare, rights and liberties, equality, and education for all citizens. The revolution was hailed as the beginning of a democratic Thailand.
The 1932 revolution is such a monumental event that the nation needs to truly embrace its own past in order to move forward in the future. However, the Thai state has been attempting to bury the memory and reduce the historical significance of the revolution. For instance, the state narrative explains that the commoners “revolted” against the King to bring about democracy prematurely, which in turn gave rise to subsequent political instability. This narrative promotes a negative perception of the revolution. Besides the narrative, steps have also been taken to remove historical artifacts connected to the revolution and keep coverage of it vaguely described.
Nevertheless, any effort to conceal the memory of the 1932 revolution is going to be difficult in the information age, where people can gain access to information easily.
… Eugene Mark is a senior analyst with Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. He has a deep interest in Thailand’s political and security affairs.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 03/07/2017