Profit, power, and responsibility: Our journey in the chaos of war

We met today to talk about the health of the company and its direction like we do most weeks. We talk about financials, projects, our people, and our vision, and we’re noticing something new. There’s a new tension among our team, and it’s not one that a phone call with a client will solve. This tension is bigger and meaner than anything we’ve had to work through in our 20-year history. 

It’s the state and threat of war. 

Even if we aren’t experiencing it directly, we are experiencing it existentially. War impacts our human existence and our desire and ability to function in the world. As compassionate human beings who have dedicated our lives and talents to the pursuit of justice, we are not built to passively take in tragedies that feel so personal while going about business as usual.

We are watching people dying horrible deaths in Gaza on our phones while also learning about genocide in the Congo, a place where there is no live feed, but genocide is committed for the precious metals in our smartphones… the same devices where we are watching parents kiss the lifeless bodies of their babies. 

It’s an endless death spiral, all for profit and paid for by our tax dollars. 

Yes, we are taking a side. 

I don’t care if you think a business shouldn’t take one publicly. Businesses ARE political. Big ones control governments, and together, they build the tools of war and oppression. And big communications companies can spin messages about war that ignite hate and division. These deals are made without our consent while we are fed streams of propaganda to focus our anger on people who may disagree with us but ultimately have as little power as we do.

LimeRed is a small business and a B Corp. We were founded in 2004 after Emily couldn’t deal with selling nonsense during the Iraq War, and we have been doing this work since then. We’re supposed to be a force for good in the world. So, we have to speak about the horrors of this world, too. It impacts our work, our perspective, our profitability, our ability to do our jobs, our relationships, our mental health, and our families.

We have to take a side.

We’re taking the side of the people whose lives continue to be devalued, who were forced out of their homes and land and into a situation that spells only unending death and suffering. We take the side of the people struggling to care for their loved ones while their lives are bombed and uprooted 24/7 with no end in sight.

People and governments designed these conflicts; they didn’t just happen. These bloodbaths are the result of decades — centuries — of oppression, genocide, displacement, and subordination in which the winners of war get the loudest microphone and the most money. 

I hope we can look honestly at the wars happening in Gaza, Ukraine, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Mexico, see past the politics and propaganda, and recognize that people — families — are being slaughtered in the name of greed and power.

There are people who profit from human suffering, displacement, apartheid, and death. 

These death profiteers want us to forget about our shared ancestry and fate so they can control us and make us think we have no other option but to go along with what has always been done.

These old problems will never be solved if we continue to operate with the same ideas and leaders. 

We need new people with new ideas. 

We need to ask: Who profits from unending war and suffering? Who decides whose interest comes before human life? Who can look away while thousands of people are murdered, while parents write their children’s names on their limbs in case they are blown apart? At what point will we all say, ENOUGH? 

Then, ask the same questions about gun control, health care, climate change, and the wealth gap. The answers are largely the same. 

I’m not sure how to end this one.

– Emily, with help and words Mere and Lina

Here are some podcasts and resources we found helpful: 

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