"Polyamory in the context of capitalist culture"
"All polyamory participants talk as if they are living in a social vacuum, unaffected by the wider social order, writes Sydney Peiris."
It's only a letter to the editor — following the Guardian's publishing of All you need is loves: the truth about polyamory four days ago — but I think it's worth attention. This elephant is frequently in the room.
Polyamory in the context of capitalist culture
Alexandra, Mike and Laura are in a polyamorous relationship and featured in Sirin Kale’s G2 article. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian
In your article (‘There’s so much joy in being poly’, G2, 25 September) one person declares: “What I love about polyamory is that I’m my own person and no one owns me. I don’t own any of you, either. We’re all free.” It seems to me this represents the vision of the human in capitalist culture: the unfettered, autonomous, rational, economic man. All polyamory participants talk about their feelings as if they are living in a social vacuum, unaffected by the wider social order in which they live. Kathleen Lynch, the Irish educationist, argues that our education system too enshrines the rational autonomous subject. Instead she advocates education for nurturing affective relationships and the recognition that we are profoundly dependent and interdependent on others for much of life. Relationships, whether monogamy or poly, are vitiated by the values currently celebrated in capitalist culture: narcissism and hedonism.
The letter (Sept. 29, 2018).
The title of the original article, of course, is a takeoff on the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love." I'm with Abbie Hoffman, who said, "But it is not. And this is basically the flaw in Beatle politics. All you need is justice." 1
1 The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, p. 239.