One can only write so much about being ethical; eventually it must be worked out. The essence of what it means to be ethical is lost when only submitted to writings. Volumes of theoretics deafen us, drowning out the cries of those calling out. Never should one make sense of what is being demanded, namely, responsibility. There is no rationalization in such a thing — only risk. Even in forming it (responsibility), one runs the risk of not upholding its call, for there is a temptation to always explain or justify why one is being moved toward the ethical (borrowed from Kierkegaard/Derrida). On the contrary, one should not give into the temptation to reveal what secret compels him/her toward such an event, for one does not even know where this push may lead. To dwell on the unforeseen end is meaningless. Rather, we must embrace the struggle and those within the struggle while working out our responsibility to the injustices at hand.
According to Derrida:
"…absolute responsibility …must remain inconceivable, indeed unthinkable: it must therefore be irresponsible in order to be absolutely responsible." (The Gift of Death, p. 61)
Much of our work with After Trade is to do away with all the theatrics of social justice. Justice isn’t something you socialize about long enough to brand and market as a commodity. Talking about justice doesn’t promise justice. What justice does promise is risk: that you must risk your life in some way. It has to cost you something, if not everything. When we confront injustice, we must always ask: what is lost or who has been forsaken? And how can we join this struggle?
*To many, our work with After Trade and the decision to ditch all previous plans in order to move to Tanzania to actually begin to live this out may appear to be irresponsible. And perhaps it is. But having become aware of the injustices within the coffee industry, this is our responsibility.