Fascism Is an Index of a Failed Revolution


It was Walter Benjamin who observed that ‘Every fascism is an index of a failed revolution.’ There is little doubt that the PAD Yellow Shirt movement has become a fascist movement in terms of the rejection of democracy, the promotion of an extreme form of nationalism and the elevation of mythical, heroic elements as being the defining dynamic force of the Kingdom.

So, what is the failed revolution that has given rise to this fascist movement? The PAD emerged during the Thai Rak Thai government and angrily denounced numerous aspects of it, so it seems reasonable to assume that the revolution was a democratic one (or there was an aspiration there would be a democratic revolution). Having seen, as they purport to believe, the failure of democracy in Thailand (i.e. they argue that it has been subverted by certain economic interests, proven corrupt and is in conflict with the fantasmatic elements of Thai society (monarchy, religion and language acting as the Master Signifier here), they now reject the idea of democracy altogether.

There is a parallel with the Labour government of the UK: both Labour and Thai Rak Thai were given enormous mandates to rule as they saw fit and to make a break with the sleazy and incompetent governments that were decisively rejected by the voters. Both had to please powerful non-democratically accountable interests and therefore compromised their ideals. Both have found it very difficult (perhaps in different ways) actually to bring about all the changes that the voters wished them to do. At least Gordon Brown does not have to worry too much about the tanks being driven into Downing Street and handpicked judges being installed to bring about certain verdicts preventing the realization of the will of the people.