University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin
I do not have any relevant financial / non-financial relationships with any proprietary interests.
Participants should be aware of the following financial/non-financial relationships:
Ian G. Baird: No disclosure data submitted.
Beginning in the early 1960s, ethnic Hmong people in northern Thailand began studying with the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT), both in their mountainous villages and in secret schools located in northern Laos along the border with China. By the late 1960s, many CPT-aligned Hmong were participating in armed conflict against the Thai military, although most only did so after their villages were burned down. Soon, much of the Hmong population in northern Thailand were living in mountainous CPT base areas, effectively territories under the full control of an aspiring Maoist State within the territorial geobody of Thailand. Most lived in these expansive base areas until they fell apart in the early 1980s. It is true that the Hmong knew almost nothing about Marxism when they first joined the CPT. They mainly joined in response to harsh discrimination, and because of Thai military attacks on their communities. Many also wanted to obtain formal education, and they generally desired equal rights in Thai society. It would be incorrect, however, to assume that all the Hmong who joined the CPT have little interest or knowledge of Marxism. Although no Hmong ever joined the Central Committee of the CPT, a number of Hmong leaders had become quite committed to Marxist theory and Maoism by the time the CPT disintegrated. In this paper, I explore Hmong-Thai engagement with Marxism and Maoism during the CPT period, including the impact of political theory and practice on Hmong leaders up to the present.