1973 Thai popular uprising


October 28, 2021

Thai popular uprising of 1973 or popular uprising of October 14, 1973 (Thai: 14 , RTGS: Hetkan Sip-Si Tula, "October 14 Event"; or Thai: , RTGS: Wan Maha Wippayok, "Day of Great Sorrow" ") was a turning point in Thai history. This uprising resulted in the end of the anti-communist military junta rule of Thanom Kittikachorn and changed Thailand's political system. This uprising in particular highlights the increasing influence of Thai university students in politics.

Student activism in Thailand in the 1950s—1970s

Student activism in Thailand grew during the 1950s as many students were inspired by leftist ideology to mobilize and organize demonstrations and rallies against the pro-American policies of the incumbent government. The emergence of students as a political force is also due to the increase in the absolute number of students. From 1961 to 1972, the number of students increased from 15,000 to 150,000, while the number of universities increased from five to seventeen. Prior to 1968, student activity was limited to demonstrations of allegiance rather than demands for change or criticism of the political system. The death of Sarit Thanarat in November 1963 changed things as the government under Thanom was more tolerant of students and intellectuals. The publication of the "Social Science Review" in 1960 is considered responsible for the new beginnings of intellectual thought and debate in Thai politics. Discussion groups have sprung up in major universities which have developed into important and organized independent groups, such as the "Sapha Na Dome" and "Sethatham" and "SOTUS" groups. These independent groups in turn produced their own writings and the Social Science Review began publishing articles from them. Some of these writings were critical of the government. These groups also started holding secret political seminars that encouraged students to be analytical and critical.

Thailand National Student Center

Student discussion groups are in many important ways different from the existing student associations on campus. They are radical and seek new ways to interpret Thai society and politics, often with left-wing tendencies. They do not organize themselves in the same way as the official student associations, namely hierarchically and politically conservative. These groups of universities were able to overcome competition between universities and establish contacts among themselves.:10 Development programs, based on the existing Peace Corps in the United States, lead students from various campuses to work in rural areas during their vacations. and forcing them to recognize problems in the countryside. The program also shows students how inadequate their existing university training is, as they cannot use their knowledge to improve the conditions faced by most of the rural population.:5–6

Further reading

Prachak Kongkirati (2005). And Then the Movement Appears: Politics and Culture of Students and Scholars before 14 October (pdf) (in Thai). Bangkok: Thammasat University Press. ISBN 9745719366.


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