Thai Red Shirts (TRS) traveled to the province of Nonthaburi to hear from grassroots Red Shirt activists. The following is a summary of a discussion with more than 50 Red Shirts on the past, present, and future of their political activism.
TRS: Why did you first get involved in the Red Shirt movement?
Something went terribly wrong in this country in 2006. The injustice that we have suffered since the coup d’état compelled us to mobilize and organize.
TRS: Who among you voted for Thaksin Shinawatra?
[Everybody raises their hands]
TRS: Why did you vote for him?
He implemented policies that had an extremely positive impact on our lives. The 30 baht health care scheme in particular greatly improved our quality of living, allowing many of us to get the medical care we could not afford previously.
The Village Development Fund also helped us build our community’s economy and infrastructure. The money was managed locally and collectively. Many of us work in agriculture so a loan system was developed to help people develop their crops.
Most importantly, Thaksin gave us faith in the democratic process and proved that politicians could respond to the needs of voters.