150,000 protest in London for Health, Homes, Jobs & Education – 16th Apr 2016

150,000 march in London for Health, Homes, Jobs & Education

Kaya stands in front of protesters with his painting “David Cameron – Crashing the UK Economy”

16th Apr 2016: An estimated 150,000 anti-austerity activists travelled the length and breadth of the country to march through Central London and protest against government austerity policies which are having serious impacts on public health, housing, employment, wages and education.

Organised by The People’s Assembly, the “March for Health, Homes, Jobs & Education” protesters (who used the Twitter hashtag #4Demands) represented junior doctors, nurses, NHS workers, teachers, students, firefighters, trade unionists, disability rights and welfare rights campaigners, local government employees and a wide cross section of aggrieved citizens who claim that they are being unjustly impoverished by an uncaring Conservative government which is purposefully dismantling public services and handing them to private capital to fund tax relief for the wealthiest.

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An extra post-Panama Papers data leak flavour prevailed at the protest with many people carrying “Dodgy Dave” placards – a reference to Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent painfully drawn-out admission over four days that he has personally benefitted from the use of offshore tax havens set up by his late father.

You can enjoy lots of photos in the articles linked HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

Kaya brings “Omerta – Cameron’s 3 Wise Monkeys” to the #CameronResign protest – 9th April 2016

9th April 2016 – Following the bombshell announcement by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on April 3rd that they and a select group of 400 journalists scattered around the globe had, for the past year, been secretly working to sift and analyse 11.5 million company documents leaked from Panamanian “Wealth Management” company Mossack Fonseca by an anonymous whistleblower which laid bare the sheer scale of global tax avoidance networks used by the rich and the corrupt and which also (in the first very, very small tranche of released information) included British Prime Minister David Cameron’s late father’s “Blairmore Holdings” tax avoidance vehicle, from which tax haven arrangement it very soon became clear (after four days of pompous denials, red-faced half-truths and arrogant attempts to deflect, then finally to fully confess) that the Prime Minister had personally profited from Blairmore, thousands of outraged protesters descended on Downing Street dressed in Hawaiian shirts, Panama hats, sunglasses and tropical colours to noisily demand that David Cameron resign.

After a couple of hours of beach-ball throwing, speeches from activists and plenty of sloganeering the protesters dashed up the road to protest outside the nearby Grand Connaught Rooms where David Cameron was addressing the Conservative Party Spring Conference, and it was on the steps of the hotel where Kaya was photographed, brandishing his satirical painting of David Cameron as a monkey brandishing a paintbrush loaded by Conservative-Blue paint and artist’s palette as he paints a picture of the Three Wise Monkeys – symbolising the Mafia-like code of silence and willful blindness to wrong-doing by the rich, the powerful and the corrupt.

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“Omerta – David Cameron’s 3 Wise Monkeys” : 106 x 76cms, oil on canvas

In 2012 David Cameron had made public press statements criticising British comedian Jimmy Carr for using a “tax-efficient” tax haven scheme, calling the comedian’s behaviour “Morally repugnant“, and it was this apparently massive hypocrisy which offended people so badly, but which also dramatically put the political spotlight on the absolutely outrageous amount of wealth which is taken out of the global economy and hoarded by greedy rich people, corporations avoiding contributing correct tax revenues to the countries they operate in, criminals laundering drug money, arms dealers, corrupt leaders, politicians and more, estimated in 2012 to be somewhere between £21 – £32 trillion.

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It was very rapidly pointed out that though Mossack Fonseca had created over 250,000 shell companies for clients with the sole intention of hiding money from tax collectors on behalf of their national governments, they were just one single company operating out of just one of more than 90 tax havens scattered around the World – the majority of them Crown Dependencies administered by Her Majesty’s Obedient Government on behalf of the City of London! The scale of the corruption is truly vast and almost beyond comprehension, and because of strict codes of secrecy it is impossible to see where all the money has gone and who has taken it.

The task ahead feels almost too big to engage, but the dialogue has begun now that people have a better idea of the scale of the problem, and the ICIJ have promised to release the entire database of so-called “Panama Papers” to the public as an online, searchable resource in the hope that this will eventually force tax havens to maintain registers of personal ownership of shell companies, and by so doing make it easier for governments to track down money siphoned out of their economies.

Meanwhile, in the real world, children with no hope and no future die by the thousand every day because they have no clean water or medicines to treat easily-treatable diseases…

 

Kaya brings his ‘Spring Budget 2016’ painting to the gates of Downing Street – 16th March 2016

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Waving the flag of the European Union, lame duck Chancellor George Osborne perches tenuously on a ‘Brexit’ ballot box on unsettled, choppy waters, holding his red Budget Box which only contains an axe.

March 16th finally broke across our green and sceptered isles. It was a cold and miserable Winter morning as Kaya Mar, wrapped up warmly against the damp air, the comforting memory of the six Pop Tarts he had for breakfast quickly fading from his mind, trudged up Whitehall towards Downing Street clutching a large oil painting almost as big as him.

The dense uncaring grey clouds above his head blotted out any vestigal hope of sunshine and were only rivalled in their impersonal malice by thick, coiling plumes of carcinogenic diesel particulates belching from the wobbling super-heated rectums of passing red Boris Buses delivering herds of low-paygrade civil servants to their anonymous cubbyholes distributed all over the monolithic grey Portland Stone cliffs of Whitehall.

Today was Budget Day, and a jaded nation of destitute families on zero hour contracts was holding its collective breath in the almost child-like anticipation that this time… this time… we would all be gambolling ecstatically, bare-footed through verdant fields thick with the lush Green Shoots of Recovery which shiny-faced spiv Chancellor of the Exchequer the Right Honourable George Gideon Giles Osborne (Former towel-folder and multi-millionaire heir-apparent to the baronetcy of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon whose family motto emblazoned on their heraldic crest is “Pax in bello” – Peace in war) had assured us all was just over the horizon – if only they weren’t all too weak and underachieving from eating food from the local foodbank which even the emaciated family dog won’t touch – to crawl over the next hill towards it.

After the politically humiliating climb-down that George Osborne had been forced to make at the end of 2015 by a rebellious House of Lords over his plans to cut Family Tax Credits for 800,000 poor, working families, there was an expectation – absurd in hindsight – that the Chancellor would finally have seen that his ideological obsession with dismantling the country’s Social Welfare security net was driving large swathes of the country into poverty and homelessness. Maybe this Budget would see a glimmer of hope for millions. Maybe this time… Maybe pigs will fly…

Kaya 16.03.2016 Paul Marriot

Photo: Paul Marriot (via Twitter)

Taking up his position outside the ominous, heavily guarded entrance to Downing Street with his new painting (which portrays Osborne as a lame duck Chancellor perched tenuously on a ‘Brexit‘ ballot box on unsettled, choppy waters, holding his red Budget Box which only contains an axe and waving the flag of the European Union), Kaya nodded as a slight, familiar greeting to the armed police officers peering through the bars of the huge black gates, and he noticed satisfyingly, that none of them yet were wearing privatised G4S uniforms, and comfortingly, they still clutched Heckler and Koch semi-automatic machine guns and not the refurbished World War I Lee-Enfield rifles with fixed bayonet favoured by cost-conscious Serco Services.

“At least our political elite are still safe from the furious, baying mob and their vicious pieces of illustrated cardboard sellotaped to lengths of wood“, Kaya thought to himself. “Thank God.”

Before long, photographers from the international press agencies arrived, looking for anything to add a spark of interest to the press’ obligatory Budget Day coverage. They fluttered around Kaya and his colourful painting, chuckling, nodding in agreement as they understood the painting’s symbolism and clicking away with their behemoth cameras before rushing off in search of a bit of free Wi-Fi in a nearby nationally-franchised coffee shop (whose parent company is registered in the British Virgin islands so they don’t have to pay tax on their UK earnings) from where they could send the photos off to their picture agencies. The actual Budget wouldn’t be announced for several hours yet, and everybody wants to get some photos in early in hope of sales on a big domestic news day.

As the photographers sipped their tepid coffed-flavoured milk and munched on their increasingly-shrinking raisin croissants they tapped away furiously on their laptops, occasionally looking around suspiciously at their competitors and wondered “Which one of us will get that single photo that will go round the World? Will it be me this time? Little Timmy needs new shoes and we haven’t eaten meat for a month…”

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Meanwhile, his objective achieved, Kaya made his way back to the leafy suburbs, getting home just in time for the live coverage of the Chancellor’s statement in the packed House of Commons. Settling down on the welcoming sofa with his lunch – a lump of slightly stale bread and a small block of Morrison’s “I-Can’t-Believe-You-Think-This-Is-Actually-Cheese” – he stared at the screen in disbelief as Osborne – grinning like a Bonobo that had just discovered it’s own genitals – announced his political tour de force: a tax on sugary soft drinks to be introduced in 2 years time, the cost of which can be passed on to the public.

As the Tory MPs behind the Chancellor erupted into a cacophony of approving howls and cheers, Kaya struggled to make out what Osborne was rushing to read out under cover of the noise of the MPs… something about slashing payments to severely disabled people… forced academisation of all schools… a laughable Living Wage which actually isn’t a Living Wage, yet is cynically calculated to make sure that anyone working more than nine and a half minutes a week would no longer qualify for Tax Credits, thereby implimenting his cruel Autumn Budget cuts by the back door… an extra £1 billion to give to the oil and gas industries because they donate so much to the Conservative Party… it was impossible to make out what was being said.

Kaya sighed and pointed the remote control at the TV and switched it off. It was all so pointless trying to understand Osborne’s slippery twists and turns, and his lunch was making him feel sleepy as he sunk back into the welcoming embrace of the chair. He would just have to wait until tomorrow and see what those wise Internets people had to say about it all, he thought to himself as his eyelids closed… “Yes, the Internets will know”, he murmured. “They know everything…”

Kaya joins national protest to ‘Stop Turkey’s War On The Kurds’ – London 06.03.2016

National protest to “Stop Turkey’s War On The Kurds” - London 06.03.2016

Political painter Kaya Mar displays his new artwork “Massacre of the Kurds” as thousands of UK-based Kurds and their supporters marched through Central London to demand that the Turkish government ceases its brutal military attacks on Kurdish people in Northern Kurdistan, Syria and Iraq.

March 6th 2016: Following recent Turkish military attacks on the districts of Cizre, Sur and Silopi in Northern Kurdistan, 10,000 UK-based Kurds and their supporters marched through Central London and rallied in Trafalgar Square to demand that the Turkish government ceases its lethal attacks on indigenous Kurdish people in Turkey, Syria and Iraq.

To express his personal outrage at the continuing brutality of Turkish President Erdoğan’s military forces towards this significant section of the Turkish population, Kaya Mar joined the protesters as they gathered outside BBC Broadcasting House in Portland Place to unveil his dramatic, allegorical painting, “Massacre of the Kurds” – a bleak, hellish scene portraying Turkish Army tanks rolling across a blood-drenched plain strewn with the broken, bloodied corpses of Kurdish women, men and children. On either side stretching to the horizon, huge flames engulf what could be the ruined timber frames of buildings, or they could also be crucifixes or a forest of trees.

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“Massacre of the Kurds” by Kaya Mar : oil on canvas, 102 x 76 cms

The protesters also accuse Turkey of abusing its NATO membership by covertly supporting Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists and their jihadist allies, giving them safe passage across Turkish borders into Syria, providing wounded ISIS fighters with medical facilities and supplying them with armaments and training.

 

It is now also known that Turkey has been buying billions of dollars worth of oil stolen by ISIS from oil fields in Northern Syria and Iraq, and in so doing have directly provided ISIS with the financial life-blood it needs to run operations in Syria, Iraq (and now Libya, thanks to the US State Department’s craving to destroy Muamar Gadaffi for having the sheer impertinence to defy Washington and disengage from trading oil in petrodollars – an unforgivable crime against the American Empire). American and Norwegian investigators have accused Bilal Erdoğan, son of the Turkish President, of using his maritime company to transport the stolen oil from Turkish ports at Mersin, Dortyol and Ceyhan where it travels directly to Israel from where it is bureaucratically laundered to avoid United Nations sanctions against trading smuggled oil, and is then sold across Europe.

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A little background: Turkey’s 14.7 million ethnic Kurds represent 18% of Turkey’s population, whose struggle for autonomy or a separate Kurdish state started over 200 years ago with the imposition of the Ottoman Empire which robbed the Kurds of their ancestral territories and which heralded frequent violent suppression of Kurds. The Kurdish struggle re-emerged in 1923 with the geopolitical creation of what we know as modern Turkish Republic following the Turkish War of Independence, and escalated in 1978 with the formation of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which still remains the leading resistance force against the Turkish State, despite having been declared a terrorist organisation by the United Nations in a piece of monumentally shabby political kow-towing to Turkish demands, in exchange for allowing US and NATO military bases and airfields to be established in Turkey as strategic staging posts to assist the USA in its goal of turning the entire Middle East into a pile of glowing ashes.

It will be, after all, much easier for American corporations to begin again with a blank (if not highly irradiated) canvas…