The Future of Thailand

Future Forward: The Rise and Fall of a Thai Political Party is a new book by Duncan McCargo and Anyarat Chattharakul, published by NIAS Press. It is reviewed for JCA by Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang of the Faculty of Law at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

Future Forward Party (FFP) was a new political party that formed to represent a more diverse and progressive electorate. As the reviewer comments, it was a sensation, prompting “love and worship alongside fear and hatred among its opponents, before meeting an untimely but expected demise via the Constitutional Court in February 2020.” Its “demise prompted an outburst of street protests” that continue until today.

In this book, McCargo and Anyarat “seek to provide deeper insights into the party and the people involved.” As in most of McCargo’s books, the focus is on leaders rather than the political and social context that gives rise to them. For example, the reviewer considers the “party’s relationship with allied pro-democratic groups and especially with the red shirts and the Pheu Thai Party” is underdeveloped and notes the limited attention to FFP’s ideology. Khemthong concludes:

The authors have left some important aspects of FFP undiscussed and some parts, for example, the series of constitutional court cases, need more detail. As the subject is rich in context and detail, the authors sometimes have to explain Thai pop culture to unfamiliar readers. It is also unfortunate that the linguistic beauty of the slogans and hashtags is lost in translation.

He considers the book “a good read for any enthusiasts of Thai politics.”

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