Table of Contents

Prior to 2014, Thailand experienced a proliferation of street protests staged by divided political movements, known as red shirts and yellow shirts for their chosen identification. The coup of that year, followed by the ban on public assembly, has thwarted the occurrence of large-scale street protests, but small-scale activities have emerged despite constant crackdowns. As the election date approached in March 2019, numerous activists decided to join established and new political parties as parliamentary candidates and active members. Activists’ choices over postprotest strategies in Thailand were shaped by the polarized political environment: those in the red shirt camp made different calculations from those in the yellow shirt camp. In general, activists rejected radical postprotest tactics and turned to mainstream politics.

The Political Context

Between 2005 and 2014, Thailand witnessed multiple episodes of intense civic mobilization. These were rooted in a long historical struggle between a democratic and more authoritarian, conservative vision of Thailand. Mass mobilization contributed to the oscillation between authoritarian and democratic regimes.

Elections in Thailand have been associated with “money politics,” where national and local tycoons achieve electoral success through vote-buying. The party system has been marred by patronage networks and factionalism.1 Royalist elites seek to undermine electoral and party systems, and politicians’ alleged corruption and inefficiency have historically provided them with justifications to replace representative democracy with authoritarian rule.2 After a democratic breakthrough in the 1990s, the Thai Rak Thai (later known as Pheu Thai) party rose as the first programmatic political party. It directly challenged the royalist elites through pro-poor policies favoring constituents in the most impoverished regions in the north and northeast. Despite several illiberal practices, the party rhetorically promotes equal democratic citizenship among all parts of the population. This view is rejected by Thais who remain emotionally and ideologically attached to traditional institutions. Pro- and antiestablishment movements—yellow shirts and red shirts, respectively—emerged. Spearheaded by the alliance of traditional elites and urban middle class, the former orchestrated mass demonstrations that toppled governments elected by red shirt constituents in 2006, 2008, and 2014. Meanwhile, red shirts took to the streets in 2009 and 2010 against a yellow shirt–backed government.3

In 2013–2014, both movements mobilized in parallel. During yellow shirts’ protests against the red shirt–backed government, red shirt constituents mobilized to defend their government and counter the tactics of the yellow shirts. This confrontation culminated in a series of armed clashes carried out by militias of both sides.4 These deep divisions had an impact on the pathways that red shirt and yellow shirt activists took after the 2014 protests.

Janjira Sombatpoonsiri
Janjira Sombatpoonsiri is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, Thailand, and an associate fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies.

Postprotest Pathways Under Military Rule

Hibernation, continued activism, and participation in mainstream politics were the strategic choices that red and yellow activists made after the 2014 putsch. The ban on political gatherings by the junta hinders the possibility of large-scale civic mobilization. Nonetheless, prodemocracy activists have opted for small-scale and symbolic actions to denounce military rule. The March 2019 election provided opportunities not only for remobilization but also for a shift from street politics to electoral competition.


The junta has outlawed public gatherings and political activities. As a consequence, the yellow and red movements ceased their activism, at least temporarily. Yet their experiences of hibernation have been markedly different. Yellow shirt activists achieved their ultimate goal in bringing down the red shirt–endorsed government in 2014. With the army in power, there was no reason for continued activism.5 In this sense, political hibernation was a positive choice. After some years of military rule, several rank-and-file activists became disappointed and apologetic for paving the way for a military coup.6 This sense of disillusionment may account for many avoiding any further political activism.7

Red shirt activists, by contrast, were forced to terminate all their activities. The ruling elites deemed their antiestablishment position dangerous, believing that red shirts had prepared for an armed countercoup. The army moved to confiscate firearms it claimed to have discovered in the provinces. It summoned thousands of activists to military camps and detained them; hundreds were charged and jailed, while many others fled the country.8 Extensive networks of red shirt media and education schools were uprooted, and the display of movement symbols, particularly the notorious red shirt itself was banned. Red shirts who were summoned to reeducation camps were re-indoctrinated with hegemonic national ideology.9

A local red shirt movement leader admitted that this was the time for survival, not political activism: “We must learn how to stay away from trouble now.” Some activists shifted to nonpolitical activities such as group bike-riding, folk dancing, or Buddhist merit-making in order to retain a sense of solidarity without appearing to be politically active.10 In addition, the absence of leadership contributed to the movement’s hibernation. The Pheu Thai politicians who led the red shirt movement were monitored and barred from participating in any political activism. One analyst argues that the red shirts’ “deathly silence resulted from the top leadership’s decision to ‘capitulate to the military.’”11 The movement’s political inactivity thus resulted from its organizational structure as well as the threat of crackdown.

Continued Activism

A handful of persistent yellow and red shirt activists have carried on their activism despite the junta’s ban. The consequences for violating the junta’s order have been markedly different between the two movements.

In mid-2015, at least nine leading yellow shirt activists established a political foundation. Their aim was to defend the junta’s reform plan and Thailand’s reputation, which might be tainted by international criticisms of the coup. The movement’s top official, Suthep Theuksuban, explained that his foundation would “cooperate with the military government in order to keep the peace and move Thailand forward.”12 The foundation’s social media page has gathered more than 100,000 yellow shirt veterans who continue mobilizing against the red shirts’ political party. These post-2014 political activities seem to have received the blessing of figures within the military government.13

Red shirt activists have sought to question the junta’s legitimacy and thereby face repression. When the movement initially emerged in the 2006, it included red shirt–backed party cadres, and prodemocracy activists, and academics. After the 2014 coup, these groups joined force with independent journalists and civic networks working against the depletion of natural resources and staged countless small-scale symbolic protests against military rule. Creative acts of defiance included the collective consuming of sandwiches in public spaces (a public demonstration in lieu of an actual protest), the collective reading of George Orwell’s masterpiece 1984 to remind Thais of the country’s ongoing authoritarianism, the flashing of the three-finger salute popularized by the dystopian Hunger Games fiction series to demonstrate popular subversion, and witty theatrical skits.14 In contrast to the authorities’ lack of response to yellow shirts’ pro-junta activism, prodemocracy groups experienced a cocktail of repressive measures, including short-term detention, jail sentences, and security forces’ intimidation of their family members.

An additional challenge to anticoup mobilization stems from public fatigue with street protests. Thais have been subject to a decade of tit-for-tat demonstrations that paralyzed the country. This contributes to low participation in most recent antijunta protests and thereby undermines the effectiveness of campaigns. One such example is activists’ commemoration of the 2015 coup. For violating the junta’s ban on public assembly, fourteen activists were immediately taken to the police station. Later, they decided not to seek bail and accepted their fate behind bars.15 This act of civil disobedience could have sparked public anger and precipitated an authoritarian breakdown as happened in other countries.16 However, this was not the case in Thailand, where street protests are associated with chaos and memories of violence remain vivid. Over the course of five years under military rule, this failure to mobilize against the junta’s repression occurs time and again. For this reason, although activists still rely on protest actions, they increasingly have contemplated an alternative.

Mainstream Politics

The junta’s plan for national elections on March 24, 2019, motivated several activists to change their path from civic activism to electoral competition or to combine both. Two patterns of activists’ involvement in mainstream politics emerged. In these patterns, the fault line dividing pro- and antiestablishment positions remains influential.

First, some activists moved into established political parties and mainstream political institutions. There were close links between the red shirt movement and its political party Pheu Thai. From the outset, the red shirt movement aimed to defend the representative democracy that has helped consolidate Pheu Thai’s parliamentary stronghold. It is difficult to differentiate between Pheu Thai’s constituents in the north and northeast and the red shirt movements’ rank-and-file supporters.17 Pheu Thai politicians’ rallies and speeches revitalized the sense of solidarity among red shirt supporters.18 Some of the leading red shirt activists have been active in Pheu Thai and its proxy parties.19 When their electoral rights are threatened, they have shifted back to political activism. However, when the window of electoral opportunity is open, they return to their parliamentarian role. Prominent figures such as Jaturon Chaisaeng, Nattawut Saikua, and Jatuporn Promphan exemplify this oscillation between activist and political roles.

In a similar vein, key activists of the yellow shirt movement have taken part in mainstream politics when the opportunity arises. During the 2013–2014 protests, at least nine activists leading the yellow shirt movement were politicians from the Democrat Party, known for its centrist conservative position.20 But there are differences with the red shirt movement’s approach to politics. After the protests, only a few yellow shirts reverted to their former role in the party. Those with no formal affiliation with the Democrat Party have served in the junta-appointed National Assembly, Constitution Drafting Commission, and National Reform Committee.21 Unlike Pheu Thai and the red shirt movement, whose overlapping infrastructure allows the revival of party movement networks to build on the party’s gain in the 2019 election, the Democrat Party has shrunk and lost many of its former activists.22

Second, other activists have created new political parties. Some key activists of the yellow shirt movement created a promilitary party, while red shirt allies found parties to oppose the army and royalist elites. The junta’s 2016 constitution is designed to weaken major parties, while favoring small parties and factions. In this context, new proestablishment parties, such as Palang Pracharat and Ruam Palang Prachachart Thai, emerged. The latter was founded by Suthep Theuksuban, who was at the vanguard of the 2013–2014 anti–red shirt government protests. It is the true heir of the yellow shirt movement. The party has been welcomed wholeheartedly by yellow shirt veterans, including celebrities, right-wing monks, and rank-and-file participants.23 Although this public celebration did not translate well into electoral gains, Ruam Palang Prachachart Thai has continued its role as the mouthpiece for royalist elites. Its chief contribution is to frame antiestablishment parties as a threat to national identity and unity.24

At the other end of the spectrum, new antiestablishment parties evolved from the broad coalition between red shirt movement and prodemocracy activists. Most of these activists carried out symbolic protests against the junta but turned to electoral politics as the election date neared. These parties include Future Forward (Anakot Mai) and The Commoner (Samanchon). The former has gained a reputation as the party of the younger generation resisting the junta’s authoritarian legacies. 25 Although the spotlight has been on the party leader, erstwhile activist and businessman Thanathorn Juangroongraungkit, the bedrock of Future Forward is made up of antijunta protesters, the liberal-minded middle class, and young voters. Leading figures and active members of Future Forward were associated with a diverse array of antiestablishment groups, such as the legal reformists (Nitirath), the Liberal League of Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD), and the Democracy Restoration Movement.26 In the March 2019 election, the party captured more than 6 million popular votes and received around eighty parliamentary seats. This success has stunned the royalist elites who regard the political agenda of Future Forward as dangerous. The junta, its Election Commission, the Constitutional Court, and conservative civic groups have filed numerous charges against party leaders and parliamentary candidates. These charges could land party leaders in jail or set the stage for the party’s dissolution.27

The Commoner party shares some historical roots with Future Forward, but its mandate is shaped by the socioeconomic injustice inflicted on marginalized communities. Because of this focus, the party’s leading members include representatives from some development nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) who once joined the yellow shirt movement but later became disillusioned with the aftermath of the 2014 coup.28 The other segment of the Commoner party includes prodemocracy advocates from the northeast, who have worked in tandem with Bangkok activist groups, such as Pai Dao Din, the New E-Saan Movement, and the New Democracy Movement.29 Party founders consider the Commoner party a political project whose long-term goal is to connect “the upper structure and the people below.”30 In fact, the party retains some features of a social movement by resorting to popular mobilization and advocacy as a means to address issues of injustice. Engaging in mainstream politics is regarded as a vehicle to transform the existing political structure in order to alleviate inequality.31 This mixture of political party and social movement comes from the idea of several activists drawn to the notions of nonviolent action and direct democracy.32 Although the Commoner party failed to receive enough votes to gain parliamentary seats, it is determined to sustain this political movement and galvanize collective action for long-term change.33

Figure 1 visualizes three postprotest pathways in Thailand shaped by the context of polarization and military rule after the 2013–2014 demonstrations.

Underlying Drivers

The postprotest pathways of the red and yellow shirt movements have been shaped by Thailand’s changing dynamics during the five years under military rule. The junta’s ban on protests limited mobilization, but legitimacy deficits underpinning this rule also encouraged a small number of activists to subvert the ruling power. When the March 2019 elections were called, some activists preferred mainstream politics. They considered institutional politics a crucial channel for changes in parallel with street mobilization. The electoral results reflect continued polarization in Thailand, as parties clearly demonstrating their antagonism to the ideologically opposite camp gained the most votes compared with the shrinking votes for centrist parties.

The leadership of the red shirt movement did not favor intensifying activist tactics after the 2014 protests—an influential decision in the relatively top-down movemen. Even though many red-shirt activists wanted to move into more radical strategies, the Pheu Thai leadership declined to support any kind of violent struggle.34 Without direction from the party leadership, activists became less committed.35 The party leadership even asked red shirt leaders to cooperate with the junta and to “keep quiet.”36

The yellow shirt movement shares this same kind of top-down movement structure. Its activists took their lead from the then army chief, who signaled that demonstrations should end because he would “pick up the baton” in eradicating Pheu Thai’s influence. It was later disclosed that, back in 2010, the leaders of 2013–2014 demonstrations and the army top leadership discussed their shared interest that Pheu Thai and its political movement should be uprooted.37 Yet once the protests had helped these elites regain power, the leadership sought to pull them back from continued mobilizations.

Offsetting this caution, to some degree, was the strength of the activists’ ideological commitment. Those civic groups that remained active despite the military crackdown did so out of their devotion to democracy and human rights. Soon after the coup, thousands of protesters gathered to let the junta know that “what they did is wrong, the coup was illegal.”38 A student activist stated that “the army coup is against democracy and people want an election in a modern democratic Thailand.”39 When asked if he was worried about the crackdown, another student activist said that he was compelled to speak out because he wanted to show the general public that the junta’s power is contingent on popular submission.40 Other student activists have mixed feelings about the consequence of their activism. Not only are they concerned about possible legal charges, but they are also worried about their family’s well-being. The security apparatus seems to know everything about their families and can use this information to take them down.41

As relatively small numbers of activists have shown this level of determination, much of the anticoup activism has taken the form of a community-organizing strategy. This approach reflects activists’ recognition that one weakness of their street protests was the disconnect from ordinary people. “We should try new moves that are safer for the members and the network,” one said. “We can’t win by using small numbers of people, so we will expand our base and membership [through community-organizing activities]. We hope to connect many groups together.”42 These activists were willing to run considerable risk in continuing their anticoup activism but changed tactics to build up greater support at the grassroots level—which, to some degree, helps explain the switch to lower-level, less contentious activism.

Compounding these factors, activists’ calculations changed once the junta began to intimate a willingness to hold elections. Anticoup activism seemed to subside after 2017 partly because of the likelihood that national elections would soon be held. In this light, activists chose to combine political activism with mainstream politics as they realized that this could bring about deep political change at the levels of government and society. Activists commonly point out that their experiences under the junta remind them of how mass mobilizations often fail to bring about political change. For change to materialize, they would need supportive forces in parliament. According to a former activist of the New Democracy Movement, organized protests have failed to bring out the masses required for far-reaching change. They want to break “away from the old ways of organizing . . . to do more policy work to tackle the political structure.”43 A human rights activist who joined the Commoner party concurs with this view, suggesting that “collective action alone is not enough.” She emphasizes that street mobilization could only pressure those in power but may fail to transform policies. 44

Activists who have lost faith in current professional politicians felt that they had to take matters into their own hands by becoming members of parliament themselves. This disappointment in established parties underpinned the rise of both the Commoner and Future Forward parties. Activists who joined the two parties have explained that they are fed up with politicians using them as pawns in their political struggle while failing repeatedly to represent voices of the people. A former student activist who was recently elected as a parliamentary member of Future Forward argues that established parties “represent the old generation of politicians whose corruption, cronyism, and unresponsiveness to constituents have led to the crisis we have today.” It took him one year to make up his mind to apply for the party candidacy. This was a major shift away from his previous plan to pursue a postgraduate law degree. However, he realized that the first step for bringing about political change is to show the public that there are politicians who genuinely care and address public interests.45 A cofounder of the Commoner party similarly asserted that his main reason for establishing the new party was to “highlight that politics is not necessarily dirty.” He would “make sure that the party is democratic and that everyone is accountable.”46

Finally, drawing on years of activist experiences under the junta, activists started to regard mainstream politics as complementary to, and compatible with, civic mobilization. New parties seek to advance their agenda in parliament, while resorting to civic activism to pressure the ruling power into implementing meaningful policies. The Commoner party considers itself a so-called party movement.47 In Thailand, the history of party movement can be traced back to the Communist Party of the 1970s, which had close ties with labor and farmer movements.48 Party members of the Commoner party also look to international party movements, such as the social democrat Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party in the Philippines or the Green Party movements in Europe and Australia.49 For a Future Forward candidate, activism and parliamentary politics similarly serve as instruments that can instigate political change, albeit through different platforms. Civic activism cannot succeed without parliamentary representation, while politicians may ignore the voice of the electorate if they remain unchecked and are not pressured by civil society. Although some of his friends remain unconvinced of his decision, he believes that he has set a precedent for his peers that an activist agenda can be effectively achieved through political institutions.50


The pathways that Thai activists took after the 2013–2014 demonstrations exhibit the interplay of hibernation, continued activism, and activist involvement in mainstream politics. Those red shirts who went into hibernation did so because of the junta’s crackdown and because of their leaders’ caution. The inactivity of red and yellow shirts, although for different reasons, has helped sustain the military regime’s power base over the past five years.

Those who continued their antijunta activism adapted as they moved along a steep learning curve. These activists have realized that civic mobilization alone is insufficient, and structural changes would require parliamentary influence. Though the older generation of Thai activists tends to be cynical about professional politicians, the younger generation believes that the vicious cycle of authoritarianism in Thailand cannot be broken until public trust in representative democracy has been redeemed. As such, many activists have created new parties that promise to reconstruct Thailand’s parliamentary politics. Whether they will succeed remains to be seen, but the optimism that these parties have generated is a notable antidote to general disillusion with politics.

Civic groups’ engagement in mainstream politics potentially reinforces the trend of polarization by deepening political cleavages between pro- and antiestablishment camps. Thailand’s political divide reflects a historical continuity of the clash between liberal and traditional visions of the country. The rise of new parties follows the pattern of the red and yellow shirt struggle but shows a shift in the marker of identity. Instead of red or yellow, new parties formed by prodemocracy activists use the labels of “democratic” coalition as opposed to the “authoritarian” camp. Meanwhile, royalist elites and mass supporters consider themselves patriotic citizens rather than liberal traitors. This ideological bifurcation has influenced the March 2019 election results, where parties who fell firmly onto one side or the other won more votes than parties considered to be centrist. Postprotest pathways have deepened Thailand’s polarization and shrunk the middle ground for political compromise. At the same time, the deepened divide compels parties to campaign based on ideological appeals. This emergence of ideological political parties could be a positive development in Thailand’s party system, which has long been affected by patronage and factionalism.

That said, it is unclear whether the partial switch from activism to politics will last. The 2019 elections were allegedly manipulated to enable the electoral victory of projunta parties. Electoral irregularities have sparked public outrage nationwide. However, opposition supporters have so far refused to take to the streets. They are afraid that street chaos could make it easier for the army to extend its rule. Even in the relatively calm atmosphere that has prevailed after the elections, street mobilization remains possible if the opposition parties are prevented from doing their job in parliament or are eventually dissolved.

Janjira Sombatpoonsiri is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science, Thammasat University, Thailand, and an associate fellow at the German Institute for Global and Area Studies. She is a member of the Civic Research Network of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


1 James Ockey, “Change and Continuity in the Thai Political Party System,” Asian Survey 43, no. 4 (2003): 663–680.

2 Duncan McCargo, “Network Monarchy and Legitimacy Crises in Thailand,” Pacific Review 18 (2005): 499–519; Kevin Hewison, “Thailand: Lessons of Protest,” Asian Studies 50, no. 1 (2014): 5; and Aim Sinpeng, “Party Banning and the Impact on Party System Institutionalization in Thailand,” Contemporary Southeast Asia 36, no. 3 (2014): 442–466.

3 Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, “Divided Civic Activism,” in Global Civic Activism in Flux, ed. Richard Youngs (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2017),; and Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, “Conservative Civil Society in Thailand,” in The Mobilization of Conservative Civil Society, ed. Richard Youngs (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2018),

4 Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, “The Policing of Anti-Government Protests: Thailand’s 2013–2014 Demonstrations and a Crisis of Police Legitimacy,” Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 4, no. 1 (2017): 95–122.

5 “PDRC Organize Party to Celebrate Coup Aftermath,” Manager Online, June 7, 2014,

6 “Former PDRC Activist Apologize for Participating in Protests That Led to Coup” [in Thai], Khaosod Online, September 25, 2018,; “Taengmo Patrathida Apologize to Thaksin and His Family” [in Thai], PPTV, February 16, 2015,ประเด็นร้อน/6316; and “Heartbroken, Former PDRC Activists Withdrew Oaths to Suthep” [in Thai], Khaosod Online, November 12, 2018,

7 This assessment is based on private conservations with the author’s friends who once joined the 2013–2014 yellow shirt protests, as well as on web board posts by former PDRC supporters (for example, see

8 Janjira Sombatpoonsiri, “Securitization of Civil Resistance: The Thai Junta and Beyond,” Journal of Resistance Studies 1, no. 2 (2015): 85–126; and Claudio Sopranzetti, “Thailand’s Relapse: The Implications of the May 2014 Coup,” Journal of Asian Studies 75, no. 2 (2016): 299–316.

9 “Reconciliation Trainings Target Northeastern Villages,” Isaan Record, September 28, 2014,

10 Thanet Charoenmuang, “The Red Shirts and Their Democratic Struggle in Northern Thailand, April 2010 to May 2015,” Trends in Southeast Asia (Yusof Ishak Institute, 2016), 24–25.

11 Ungpakorn, “The Demise of the Red Shirts,” Uglytruth- Thailand, July 5, 2015,

12 “PDRC Foundation Open. Suthep Stress NCPO Finish its Reform Before Election” [in Thai], Isranews Agency, July 30, 2015,

13 Hathaikarn Trisuwan, “Suthep: Prayuth is the Best Possibility” [in Thai], BBC Thai, July 6, 2017,

14 Sombatpoonsiri, “Securitization of Civil Resistance,” 95; and Sombatpoonsiri, “Divided Civic Activism,” 34.

15 “14 Students Arrested” [in Thai], Thairath Online, June 27, 2015,

16 Brian Martin, Justice Ignited: The Dynamics of Backfire (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007).

17 Uchaen Chiangsaen, “The Origin of Red Shirts as Counter-movement,” Fah Diew Kan 9, no. 3 (2010): 90–106.

18 Saowanee T. Alexander, “On Thailand’s 2019 Election: The Isaan Red Shirts Have Returned, But Where Is the Godot” [in Thai], The Isaan Record, January 24, 2019,

19 The junta and its national assembly engineered the new constitution to weaken major parties, particularly Pheu Thai, and strengthen pro-junta parties, which are inexperienced and have fewer members. In response, Pheu Thai’s leaders devised the strategy that eventually broke the party down into small parties ready to form the coalition government after the election.

20 Thitikorn Sangkaew and Atthasit Phankaew, “The Whistle Mob” [in Thai], King Prajadhipok’s Institute Wiki, 2015,ม็อบนกหวีด.

21 “Who Is Who in the Constitution Drafting Committee, Many PDRC Participants” [in Thai], Prachatai, April 11, 2014,; “National Reform Committee: Who is Who” [in Thai], Kapook, October 7, 2014,; and “PDRC Proposals for the Constitution Drafting Committee” [in Thai], Prachatai, November 25, 2014,

22 Pongpiphat Banchanont, “Defections to Palang Pracharat,” Matter, November 28, 2018,

23 “Suthep Give a Hug If Addressing the Party Name Correctly” [in Thai], Post Today, February 12, 2019,; “Ruam Palang Prachachart Open All Provincial Offices” [in Thai], Naewna, December 13, 2018,; and “Buddha Isara Welcome Suthep” [in Thai], PPTV Online, December 5, 2018,ประเด็นร้อน/94354.

24 “Anek to Thanathorn: 24 March Election Less Anti-Junta, More for Palace Protection” [in Thai],  Standard, February 12, 2019,

25 “#Fahrakpoh: Thanathorn Popular Again as “Daddy” of New Gen” [in Thai], Momentum, February 11, 2019,

26 Kriangsak Teerakowitkajorn, “Thailand’s New Left-Wing Political Parties: Rivals or Allies,” New Mandala, November 19, 2018,

27 Jintamas Saksornchai, “Future Forward Leader Hit with Sedition Charge” [in Thai], Khaosod, April 3, 2019,; and Thana Boonlert, “Future Forward in Hot Water Over Lecture,” Bangkok Post, April 2, 2019,

28 “Ordinary People’s Party Enter Politics” [in Thai], Momentum, October 8, 2018,

29 Peera Songkunnatham, “From Protest to Politics: Activists Discuss Political Future,” Isaan Record, May 10, 2017,

30 Ibid.

31 Personal conversation, Pimsiri Petchnamrob, member of the Commoner Party, April 15, 2019.

32 Teerakowitkajorn, “Thailand’s New Left-Wing Political Parties.”

33 Personal conversation, Pimsiri Petchnamrob, April 15, 2019.

34 It should be noted that grassroots communities also raised funding and avoid completely relying on the party. See “A Special Report.” Prachatai, December 14, 2015,

35 Ibid., 25.

36 Marwaan Macan-Markar, “Red Shirts Muzzled as Army Heads to Villages,” Asian Review, May 21, 2015,; and “A Special Report,” Prachatai, December 14, 2015,

37 “Suthep Discussed With Prayuth Since 2010 to Topple Thaksin Regime,” Manager Online, June 23, 2014,

38 Robert Kennedy, “Thailand: Military Rule and ‘Red Shirt’ Anger,” Al Jazeera, May 25, 2014,

39 Ibid.

40 “Thai Anti-Coup Activists in Bangkok Defy Junta Ban on Protests,” Straits Times, September 19, 2015,

41 Kongpob Areerat, “Post-coup Thai Student Activists—Part I,” Prachatai, May 1, 2015,

42 Pravit Rojanaphruk, “Less Confrontation, More Expansion for New Democracy Movement” [in Thai], Khaosod, May 6, 2017,

43 Songkunnatham, “From Protest to Politics.”

44 Personal conversation, Pimsiri Petchnamrob, April 15, 2019.

45 Personal conversation, Rangiman Rome, candidate of the Future Forward party, April 16, 2019.

46 Kas Chanwanpen, “Commoner Party Ready to Take an Uncommon Approach,” Nation, April 11, 2018,

47 Mildred A. Schwartz, “Party Movements,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, August 2016,

48 Tyrell Haberkorn, Revolution Interrupted: Farmers, Students, Law, and Violence in Northern Thailand (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2011).

49“Ordinary People’s Party Enter Politics;” and personal conversation with Pimsiri Petchnamrob, a member of the Commoner Party, April 15, 2019.

50 Personal conversation with Rangiman Rome, April 16, 2019.