"Is Polyamory Revolutionary?"
AdBusters magazine, based in Vancouver, is “a not-for-profit, reader-supported, 120,000-circulation magazine concerned about the erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces.” It claims that its online members “are a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.”
On its website, one of its contributing editors blogs these thoughts:
Is Polyamory Revolutionary? Rupturing the consumer myth through sexual liberation.
By Micah White
...Now, four decades later, we can discern the faint stirrings of a return to the project of sexual liberation. This time, however, it is not under the flag of “free love” but of “polyamory” that the struggle will be waged.
...Sexual liberation as imagined in the 60s was heavily biased towards a vision where sexual energy was freely flowing, all partners essentially equal, and sex something that ought to be shared without restriction. Against this borderless, formless vision of sex another perspective is gaining traction: the “polyamorous” position that maintains it is the tight bonding of a group, whether it be three or four or more, that is revolutionary [apparently referring to trends in urban anarchist communities].
Polyamory is an outgrowth of the free love movement but instead of looking to the orgy as the model for rebellion, it is the notion of a tribe that excites their imagination.
...Can capitalism exist without its foundation of heterosexual monogamy? Is polyamory inherently revolutionary? To all these questions we must answer: capitalism is a master of recuperation. What first shakes it, soon motivates it, later strengthens it....
Read the whole article (July 29, 2010).
Elsewhere in the street-radical world, the occasional zine Dysophia ("the many worlds of green anarchism") published a 64-page issue in May titled Anarchy & Polyamory; download it as a .pdf. From the website:
Exploring open relationships and non-monogamy from the perspective of green anarchism, Anarchy & Polyamory is a collection of essays and articles, many new (but a few oldies), designed to be accessible to those new to both anarchism and polyamory. It is examines personal and sexual relationships through the prism of anarchism, including considering some common pitfalls and how society's hierarchies are reinforced in personal relationships.
The authors are wide ranging, mixing both past and present from Europe and the US, many talking from their own experience.
...We are are looking at doing faciliting some discussions later in the year for groups wanting to explore some of the issues raised.
Given the amount of interest and reaction already received from preview copies, we are planning a follow-up publication. So, we are interested in responses, whether challenging some of the positions taken in the articles or covering topics that the authors have missed out. We are particularly interested in material which deals with the problems of being non-monogamous in modern society, of communication with in open relations, challenging hierarchies in relationships, and how all this is informed by anarchism.
The table of contents:
● Green Anarchism and Polyamory
● A Personal Perspective
● Let Them Eat Cake
● Emma Goldman on Love and Marriage
● A Conversation
● Anarchy is Love, Love is Anarchy
● Eight Points on Relationship Anarchy
● The Rise of Polyamory: Leftist men’s self-serving cure-all for sexism
● A Green Anarchist Project on Freedom and Love
It's no surprise this was published in England. The poly movement there tends to be more political than in North America, according to activists quoted in a long article in the mainstream Sunday Independent (September 13, 2009):
"British polys are often into alternative lifestyles and politics, and tend to be more radical and progressive than American polys," says [Graham] Nicholls. "Some even identify themselves as 'relationship anarchists'."
One such politically-driven poly is Owen Briggs, a 33-year-old gardener from Nottingham. "I believe in trying to break down power hierarchies in society, and that means breaking them down in my personal life as well," he says. "If I wish to try to allow others to be free, why would I want to control the people I love and care most about?"
Anarchic approaches to relationships also abound on the "queer" poly scene, which, as Johanna Samuelson and her primary partner Jonathan David explain, is a little different from the standard gay scene. "It's an inclusive, activist community which sees beyond the divide between male and female, hetero and homo," says Samuelson, a 27-year-old postgraduate student from Brighton....
Labels: leftist/anarchist, theory