Alternative Land Management in Thailand: A Case Study of the Southern Peasants Federation of Thailand presents the struggle for land of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT) in Surat Thani province. This study is a counterpoint to the country’s centralized land management system that has resulted in inequitable land distribution, concentrated in the hands of a few powerful owners, and inevitably in land conflicts. The author presents the concept of community rights as an alternative to reinforce the land rights movement in Thailand, including the SPFT.
A full understanding of this concept would be incomplete without narrating the story of the SPFT’s struggle for land which gave birth to one of the most prominent organizations in Thailand’s land right movement. SPFT’s alternative practice–a strategy to counter the centralized system and resist the sway of the capitalist system–is also illustrated through its land governance and management methods in the form of community economic practices, grassroots democracy, networking strategies, community constitutions, building community cultures and women empowerment. By securing land as a fundamental right of peasants, SPFT is able to use is fully as a means of production for subsistence livelihood, and to serve as a safety net and social capital of local communities.