Nawaphon

The Nawaphon organization (Thai: ขบวนการนวพล, alternatively transcribed as Navapol, Nawapol, Nawaphol, translated variously as 'new force', 'ninth force',[1]) or 'nine new forces'[2]: 80  was a Thai extreme right-wing,[3] patriotic,[4] Buddhist[3] and anti-communist[5][6] propaganda organization[7] active during the country's short democratic period in the mid-1970s. Nawaphon has been described as a psychological warfare unit. Its mission: to support the Red Gaurs and propagandize the Thai population.[8]

Nawaphon was set up by Wattana Keovimol in 1974. Wattana had been the head of the Thai Students Association in the United States, when he studied at Seton Hall University.[4] Nawaphon was supported by the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) of the Thai military[8] and the Ministry of Interior.[1] The group was said to have links to wealthy businessmen, politicians, the National Security Council, and Thai military intelligence.[3] Nawaphon rallied merchants, businessmen, and monks who were opposed to social change and democracy, fearing for their wealth.[8] The organization attracted a number of Buddhist monks, the most prominent being Kittiwuttho Bhikkhu, who infamously said that killing communists was not a sin.[8][9]

The movement was opposed to parliamentary democracy and campaigned for the three principles of nation, religion, monarchy.[4] Nawaphon attracted considerable support due to the common feeling that these national principles were threatened by left-wing forces.[4] In 1976, the group was thought to have 30,000–50,000 members.[2]: 82  Nawaphon played a key role in the anti-leftist agitation that led to the Thammasat University massacre on 6 October 1976,[4] in which members of the organization were involved.[3]

After the coup re-establishing the military rule following the massacre, Nawaphon's popularity diminished due to suspicions that it had become a means of catering to the ambitions of the military clique.[4]

An alternative view on Nawaphon's membership has been given by historian Thongchai Winichakul, who pointed out that unlike the Red Gaurs and the Village Scouts, the other right-wing groups involved in the massacre, information on Nawaphon is scarce and much of it seems to derive from boasts made by Wattana. In addition, photos of large gatherings attributed to the group came from mixed crowds, not allowing different right-wing groups to be distinguished. Thongchai therefore suggested that Nawaphon may have been "a phantom organization intended to inflate the image of the right-wing movement" that had no base of its own but took credit for counterinsurgency operations by the ISOC.[10][11]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Baker, Chris; Phongpaichit, Pasuk (2009), A History of Thailand, Cambridge University Press, p. 192, ISBN 9780521767682
  2. ^ a b Suksamran, Somboon (1982). Buddhism and Politics in Thailand; A Study of Socio-Political Change and Political Activism of the Thai Sangha. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. pp. 76–83. ISBN 9971902435. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ a b c d Schmid, Alex P.; Jongman, Albert J. (2005), Political Terrorism, Transaction Publishers, p. 671, ISBN 9781412815666
  4. ^ a b c d e f Leifer, Michael (2001), "Nawaphon Movement (Thailand)" (Hardcover), Dictionary of the Modern Politics of South-East Asia (3rd ed.), Taylor & Francis, p. 199, ISBN 0415238757
  5. ^ Elinor Bartak (1993). The Student Movement in Thailand, 1970-1976. Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University. p. 27.
  6. ^ Alan Klima (2002). The Funeral Casino: Meditation, Massacre, and Exchange with the Dead in Thailand. Princeton University Press. p. 26.
  7. ^ Karin Zackari (2016). Bettina Koch (ed.). Violence on the Periphery of the Thai State and Nationhood. State Terror, State Violence: Global Perspectives. Springer VS. p. 86.
  8. ^ a b c d Ungphakorn, Puey (1977). "Violence and the Military Coup in Thailand". Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars. 9 (3): 11. doi:10.1080/14672715.1977.10406422. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
  9. ^ Politics and Religion Mix for Asia's Activist Monks, USC Annenberg School for Communications, Reuters, 11 September 2007
  10. ^ Winichakul, Thongchai (2020). Moments of Silence: The Unforgetting of the October 6, 1976, Massacre in Bangkok. University of Hawaiʻi Press. pp. 43–44. ISBN 9780824889999.
  11. ^ "ไม่มีนวพลใน 6 ตุลา: องค์กรผีของ กอ.รมน. - waymagazine.org | นิตยสาร WAY". waymagazine.org. 5 October 2020. Retrieved 2020-11-11.