matt martin

autobiography      years before the financial crash of 2008      i did my best to be capitalist      i took a job at a mortgage broking firm      my task was to process mortgage completions once all the approvals had been received      every case that i processed represented somebody gaining a new home      but i had no contact with any of them      no way to know what might become of them next      arranging a house for somebody is normally seen as kindness      but these boons were often assaults      we worked with lenders like northern rock      specialists in sub-prime mortgages      at the touch of a button that transferred one row of numbers between spreadsheets      i dropped debt into the lives of those who couldn’t sustain their repayments      years later the backwash of defaulted loans would erode northern rock down to sand      is there a difference between killing families with drone strikes or with usury      my discomfort with all this was obvious      on the last day of your probation my manager called me to her office for a meeting      “we think you might be happier in community-oriented work”      she explained that it was important to trust the c.e.o.’s ethical choices      our role is to enact them      we are the technology through which finance operates on the world      don’t worry about the human beings you’re processing      as far as you’re concerned they’re just numbers upon a screen      to demonstrate how this should work in practice      i was asked to clear my desk and leave the building right away      and you      how would you respond to such a change of circumstances

     •    scale back your outgoings to match your reduced income
     •    reply with physical violence to the systematic brutality of capital