In this second interview, Santi elaborates on the founding of the Group of Local Teachers for People (GLTP), the Baan Tonkeaw incident, and his reflection on the consequences of the crackdown on the leftist movement after the 6 October 1976 Massacre.
Summary of the second interview with Mr.Santi Thamraksa,
a former member of the Group of Local Teachers for People
The second interview was also unrecorded. It took place on January 30th, 2021 at Mr. Santi’s house in Chiang Mai. The topics were quite similar to the ones in the first interview. But The interviewer asked Mr. Santi to clarify and elaborate on more details about the accounts he provided in the first interview including the founding of the Group of Local Teachers for People (GLTP), his testimony on the Baan Tonkeaw incident, and his reflection on the consequences of the crackdown on the leftist movement as an aftermath of the 6 October Massacre.
History of the GLTP: a piece of new key information in this interview is the roles of GLTP in collaboration with other (more well-known leftist groups namely) local farmers and university students in the campaign to implement the new (and fairer) farm lease law in Northern Thailand. Mr. Santi described the GLTP and its work as a reflection of a broader political climate in Thailand in the 1970s. Moreover, he addressed a typical anti-communist trope in which the leftist activists were painted as mercenary activists receiving money from the communist organization abroad. In essence, Mr. Santi recounted that the GLTP received legitimate funding from the Socialist Party of Thailand, but most of the time, it was not enough and the GLTP members had to contribute out of their pockets for their advocacy on the local level.
The Baan Tonkeaw Incident: Mr. Santi described the sequences of the incident. He also recounted the police investigation in which the GLTP members were treated unfairly. The police officers didn’t put effort into investigating the vandalization where the properties of many seminar goers were destroyed and stolen despite the fact that the act was undeniably a crime.
The aftermath of the 6 October Massacre: the nationwide crackdown on the leftist movement after the 6 October Massacre was not anything Mr. Santi had expected. In 1975, he thought that the lest was going to win as the US troop began to withdraw from Vietnam. Moreover, he thought the harshest political punishment the leftist would receive was the disbanding of the Socialist Party of Thailand. He found that the state violence discouraged the confidence of national citizens in exercising their powers.