Monday, October 2, 2006

Excerpts of Prime Ministerial Order No. 65/2525 "Plan for Political Offensive"

I found this is the appendix of Suchit Bunbongkarn's "The Military in Thai Politics, 1981-86", printed by ISEAS, 1987. This was a government paper signed by then Prime Minister Prem Tinasulanonda in 1982, so possibly a number of people were involved in its drafting. What I found interesting was how it categorized "pressure groups and interest groups" as "economic groups, the masses, progressive groups, and mass media". An extensive quote, but it needed all its elements together:

1. Principles and Rationale

1.1. Pursuant to the Prime Ministerial order No. 66/2523 of 23 April 1980 pertaining to the policy "Struggle to Win Over Communism" which required that the "Struggle to Win Over Communism be completed within a short period of time by conducting a continuous political offensive", the Cabinet on 20 April 1982 endorsed the recommendations put forward by the Committee on the Policy to Struggle to Win Over Communism concerning a "Plan for Political Offensive", and hereby ordered by Government agencies concerned to follow the guidelines laid out in this plan as well as other plans which the Committee may add in the future to complement it.

1.2. The important factor in the struggle to win over communism and destroy all forms of authoritarianism (totalitarianism) is the development of democracy. The people desire that the nation becomes democratic under the leadership of the monarchy, but because the political development towards democracy has been delayed and is full of shortcomings, the communists have used these conditions as the basis for a propaganda campaign to compete for the people's loyalty. However, the "democracy" spoken of by the communists is only a tactic to win over the state so that eventually a conversion can be made to socialism and communism. Therefore, better and true democracy, both strategically and tactically speaking, must be developed within a short period of time. The personnel who will be the main instrument for achieving this task, are to be government officials in every agency as well as ordinary people with idealism who are prepared to co-operate to bring about a model democracy in our society.

2. Objectives and Policy

2.1 To promote true faith and understanding that sovereignty rests with the people.

2.2 To create a balance between individual freedom and this collective sovereignty.

2.3 To destroy all forms of authoritarianism and form a democratic society under the leadership of the monarchy and based on the guidelines of democratic beliefs.

3. Operational Framework

An organizational unit composed of government officials and idealistic ordinary people as core members is to be created to direct the campaign. This unit is to be responsible for safeguarding the people's interests, creating true democracy and fulfilling the basic needs and desires of the people by:

3.1 Enabling the people to live in happiness and security, both personal and material, free from exploitation and repressive influences.

3.2 Enabling the people to live with honor and dignity, and to participate in and lead political processes, for they are the owners of the country.

3.3 Enabling the people to live with hope and faith in their faith in their future and their nation's security.

4.Operational Guidelines

4.1 The task of developing democracy has two parts: one is to promote faith and understanding that sovereignty rests with the people by destroying authoritarian power and influences from the local to the national level, and the other is to promote individual freedom by making laws which are laws. Due to the existence of many constraints such as resources and laws which must be amended or annulled, this task cannot be accomplished completely in a short period of time, but should be done in continuous stages with a full awareness of the special characteristics of Thai society and contextual limitations...

4.2 In addition to the operational guidelines laid down by Order 66/2533 of 23 April 1980, the following operational guidelines are to be followed:

4.2.1 Faith in the value of democracy... must be promoted by disseminating and improving knowledge of democracy both in theory and in application; providing true information about the prevailing situation; educating the mass media which are to act as an instrument for transmitting correct knowledge and understanding of democracy to the public at large; and ensuring that governmental officials conduct themselves in an exemplary and democratic manner.

4.2.2 The discharging of their respective responsibilities according to democratic principles by all state mechanisms must be accelerated at two levels. At the highest level of decision-making which involves politicians, political parties and top administrators... policies must be laid down clearly, positively and coherently to solve the nation's fundamental problems... strong and decisive response must be made to cope with day-to-day problems as they develop in accordance with principles of justice and interests of the people as a whole; opportunity must be made open for others such as academics, mass media, interest groups and various experts or specialists to partake in solving of such problems... The bureaucracy as a whole must be improved to strengthen the conditions for creating and developing democracy, and bureaucrats must be made to develop a conscience and sense of duty together which idealism to be responsive to the people in a responsible way, strictly to enforce the law and bring justice for one and all... At the level of civil servants, improvements must be accelerated because all civil servants, have an important role in putting into practice the national policy but at the moment are still lacking in the sense of duty and idealism necessary to promote popular sovereignty and generate respect for the law. All civil servants are to ... search for sources of a remedy for corruption ... discharge their duties and responsibilities strictly ... and within limits ... prevent fellow civil servants from acting as lords and masters of the people and exploiting them, and at the same time bring to justice those who break rules... (In addition) the bureaucratic system must be reformed and decentralized, delegating power and responsibility towards regions and localities..., and sufficient salary and welfare must be provided for all civil servants, especially those at junior levels, so they can uphold their own honor and dignity.

4.2.3 Popular participation in political activities must be promoted to enable the people to have more practicle experience which can serve to strengthen their attachment to an understanding of the principles of popular sovereignty. This must be done by involving the people in activities near their places of residence such as in the tambol councils, village committees and co-operatives ...; encouraging the use of political parties as a means of promoting their own interests at the national or local level in accordance with the principles of democracy...

4.2.4 Activities of pressure groups and interest groups must be regulated. Pressure and interest groups can act either to reinforce or to obstruct the development of democracy. Therefore, to ensure that their role be a constructive one and to deter any such group from hindering this development, their activities must be regulated in the following ways:

Economic Groups Because Thailand has a liberal economic system but its state mechanisms for mobilizing resources and distributing benefits are still weak, some economic groups have been able to take advantage to build up monopolistic power which inflicts social injustice and material hardship on the people, creating conditions for war. Moreover, some of these monopolistic groups have been able to develop great political bargaining power which is an obstacle in the development of democracy. Although it is vital to regulate these groups, the process of regulating them should be taken step by step and in accordance with the law ... The guidelines for cutting down the monopolistic power of the economic groups are: accelerated enforcement of the law against any violation by business; use of strict legal measures to guard against any violation by business; use of strict legal measures to guard against and destroy monopolistic power; enhancing among traders and capitalists the feeling of social responsibility and commitment towards the collective interest of the nation, by commending those with a social conscience, education, and opening up opportunities for participation in solving problems caused by their peers, and use of appropriate monetary, fiscal, legal and administrative measures on business, industry and commerce to bring about a distribution of economic benefits among the people at large.

The Masses. Workers and farmers are important in that they form the crucial foundation for Thailand's revolution and are targets for competition among political groups including the communists. Therefore, to prevent opposition groups from winning over them, to save them from being victims of communist propaganda and to generate their support for the development of democracy, the following guidelines for action should be taken. Support should be given to mass organizations which are truly democratic to prevent their leadership from falling into the hands of opposition groups. Leadership of mass organizations should be won over to destroy the subversive power of the communists within these organizations. A political environment conducive to mass political activities based on the principles of democracy should be created and encouraged.

Students. Students are a special group which has high political awareness and seeks democracy and social justice. However, because their experience is limited, they are targets for communist groups and used as a part of the united front constructed by the latter. Therefore, to utilize students as a force for democracy and to prevent them from becoming tactical tools of communists as well as other authoritarian groups, the following guidelines for action should be taken. Freedom should be given to students to conduct all their activities, including political activities, which are within the law and the regulations laid down by their academic institutions. Students' activities geared towards the development of democracy be incorporated in the syllabus at every level of education and appropriate textbooks prepared by academics as standard of references for the future.

Progressive Groups. There are now many groups which have become more politically active in urban areas, including those who have returned from the "jungle", various progressives, communists, united fronts and other democratic groups. To ensure that their activities be kept within bounds imposed by national security considerations and contribute towards the development of democracy, the following guidelines for action should be taken. Opportunities should be given to all groups to put forward ideas and suggestions within the limits of the Constitution and law. Strong democratic movements should be encouraged in accordance with the Prime Ministerial Order No. 66/2523 dated 23 April, 1980. Leadership of Progressive ideas should be won over. Activities of those groups which constitute a threat to national security and the development of democracy should be closely and continuously observed and obstructed.

Mass Media. The media can act either to promote or to destroy democracy. Therefore, to ensure that they are constructive for democracy, the following guidelines of action should be taken. Members of the mass media who have democratic ideas should be commended and given support and special responsibility in providing new conducive to the development of democracy encouraged. Campaigns to use ideas as a means of promoting democracy by the mass media should be supported. The government's mass media organizations should be used to promote democracy and counteract news which cause its destruction. News which have adverse impact on the democratic system should be curtailed by executive as well as legal measures.

Armed Forces and Formation. They should have a correct understating of democracy and support and preserve this system.

27 May BE 2525
(27 May 1982)

(Signed) General Prem Tinsulanond
Prime Minister

The source quoted for this plan wasISIS Bulletin.

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