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The Political Economy of Class Struggle in Modern Thailand

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image of Historical Materialism

The 1997 economic crisis in Thailand was a crisis of modern capitalism. The predominant relations of production and the state in Thailand have been capitalist for over a century. Today, Thailand has a population just slightly larger than Britain, with a working class and peasantry each making up approximately 40% of the working population. Politically, Thailand has a bourgeois-democratic system comparable with the West and, just like in the West, rights and freedoms have been attained by continuous class struggle from below. Marxism allows the political developments in modern Thailand to be understood as the result of struggle between the working class and the bourgeoisie. Marxism can also explain the causes of the Thai economic crisis which were not fundamentally different from those of any other capitalist crisis: a declining rate of profit and overproduction in an unplanned global market system. Finally, a Marxist analysis can both explain the current ruling-class structural offensive, which is taking place against the interests of the working class in the aftermath of the crisis, and point the way forward in resisting this offensive.


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