Founded in 1995 | Thousand Currents Partner since 2022
Assembly of the Poor
Uniting the poor to fight for their right to self-determination
Assembly of the Poor (AOP) is a national cross-sectoral popular platform composed of issue-based community-based groups whose land rights are threatened by neoliberal projects in Thailand. The AOP members belong to rural and urban poor constituencies such as peasants, forest peoples, indigenous peoples, fisherfolks, workers, stateless peoples, and slum dwellers. AOP’s mission is to unite Thailand’s poor to fight for their right to self-determination and right to resources. It has a decentralized networking organizing style.
AOP is currently working on:
- Land rights: This includes the right to land for landless peoples, protecting existing landholdings, and retroactive fair compensation for alienated lands. The AOP is also mobilizing communities against ongoing land grabs in the context of climate change projects like carbon neutrality or carbon credit trading in Thailand.
- Negotiations with the state: Several restrictive land policies have prompted mass AOP organized protests, the most recent mobilization being in 2019. After this protest, the Thai government formed some ‘state and AOP’ joint committees to resolve the specific grievances raised by protestors.
- Constitution of the Poor: The AOP has been facilitating a joint national campaign across constituencies and allies to draft a people’s constitution.
- Anti-free trade campaigns.
- Agroecology and peasant markets: AOP members conduct many agroecological activities including hosting regional and local markets as well as a mostly women-led peasant market in Bangkok. After the pandemic, the AOP started experimenting with an online marketing platform and initiated an agroecology school process in collaboration with Focus on the Global South, La Via Campesina, Chulalongkorn University, Thammasat University, and other social movements. It is the first popular education itinerant school on agroecology in Thailand.
- Legal Clinic: AOP has a mobile legal clinic which is used to go from village to village, offering legal advice and services, as well as community-level education on relevant laws.
- ‘Poor’s media room’: AOP has started to use online platforms like Facebook live and Instagram live to routinely discuss news and other relevant topics for their members. Many youths are involved in this work.
- Youth project: AOP Youth Group was formed since 2021 and able to organize their own activities to integrate young children of AOP families to the struggles of the movement through activities such as forest walk, birdwatching, forest camps, etc. The children learn about their land, forests, natural resources, native seed, biodiversity and agroecological production by their parents.