Inferior to Non-humans, Lower than Animals, and Worse Than Demons: The Demonization of Red Shirts in Thailand

  •  Siwach Sripokangkul    


Attempts to demonize and dehumanize the Red Shirts, the largest pro-democracy group in Thailand, have been evident since the 2006 coup d’état that deposed Thaksin Shinawatra as prime minister. In this article, the author discusses the origins of the Red Shirts, and argues that the formation of the Red Shirts was in reaction to unbearable injustice in Thai society. Applying Giorgio Agamben’s theory of bare life and qualified life, the author shows that the Red Shirts have been stripped of their political life and status in Thai society. The author discusses the hate speech and brutal tactics used against the Red Shirts both before and after the massacre of 2010 in which over 100 people died, which occurred during Red Shirt protests against the Democrat-backed Abhisit Vejjajiva government. The elite and middle classes, as well as the Army, incite hatred against the Red Shirts through the use of propaganda that depicts them as disgusting beings in order to justify their eradication. However, contrary to popular belief among the elite and middle class, the author argues that Red Shirts are rational in their thinking towards democracy, and are not primarily motivated or controlled by money as voters. Above all, the author concludes that the Red Shirts have been treated unjustly by the elected government they supported between 2011 and 2014.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.