One of the more recent and problematic ideologies that has been embraced by left-wing movements, organizations, and working groups is the ideology of polyamory. A sexual politics that rejects monogamy as retrograde, polyamory is promoted by some as a necessary radicalism––a rejection of the conservatism that is supposedly the essence of monogamy––a qualification for being properly left. My issue with this ideology is not moralistic but political: I do not see polyamory as essentially more progressive than monogamy, and I am deeply suspicious of how this claim of poly-radicalism can replace material political struggle with an idealist body-politics. . . The political motivation of the "poly-pushers" (as one of my friends dubbed them once) certainly seems properly left. We know that the monogamy that emerged during capitalism, and cohered around the puritan and horrendously patriarchal nuclear family, was a building block of capitalist society. This family, and the gender and property roles it has veiled, is also the "natural order" for reactionary mono-mongers amongst the religious right and banal liberals. Since the spectre of "family values" (treated as eternal though not really that old) is often summoned from its grave for multiple conservative or liberal reasons, perhaps it is time that we exorcize this ghost once and for all. Pushing polyamory as the new sexual normativity, however, is not automatically anti-capitalist. . . Leaving aside the problem that poly-pushers define love in the same simplistic manner as mono-mongers (as romantic and/or sexual), capitalist logic can easily accomodate polyamory as well. Overconsumption and overproduction also define capitalism. Thus, wanting to have as much sex with as many people as possible is very capitalist.
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