Over the course of recent months, Thai Red Shirts (TRS) has had the opportunity to speak to Red Shirt activists at UDD rallies, political schools, and in their communities around Thailand. Our discussions have provided an honest look into the values and principles that make the Red Shirt movement one of the most popular social movements in Southeast Asia, if not the world. While the West falls deeper into a state of political apathy, the Red Shirts continue to reach out to millions of Thais who are experiencing a political awakening, the likes of which Thailand has never witnessed.
Despite internationally held misconceptions that have been successfully promoted by opposition forces, Red Shirt activists are first and foremost concerned with ensuring a democratic future for Thailand. Without exception, every Red Shirt interviewed by TRS stated that their primary concern was the weak state of Thai democracy. Although the majority of Red Shirt activists are old enough to have experienced many military coups, the coup in 2006 shocked the majority of them into action because it toppled Thailand’s most popular elected figure and brought an end to an unprecedented 14 years of democratic progress.