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Polyamory is Like Capitalism by Caitlin Johnstone?4 min read

Poly Relationships Resource Based Economy
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This post is a response to a tweet by Caitlin Johnstone whom I follow on Twitter (and Facebook) because she has some amazing leftist political takes. I would have posted this all to Twitter, but it was not allowing me to post a threaded response (and this was already getting long enough). I am not sure if threaded responses are even possible, so I decided to post it all here to keep it together.

My Background

I have NOT been in a polyamorous relationship before, although, I have spent several years researching this fascinating topic over a decade ago while I was first getting into politics. Social Sexual issues (specifically gay marriage) are what got me into politics. Here are those first 4 pages I wrote in 2009, one of which was a primer on polyamory:

Also, I have spent quite a lot of time research capitalism, inequality, poverty, US imperialism and colonialism, etc… too as you can tell by the fact that the majority of my posts over the last decade or so cover these sorts of issues.

The Tweets!!!

Here is her original tweet to which I responsed:

Capitalism is like polyamory; sure it might work okay for some people, but generally the ones
who reap the most rewards from it are those who don’t care about other people’s feelings.

Here is her response to one of my responses:

So first I was wrong because I had no experience, now I’m wrong because I did.
Maybe I’m just right.

My Thoughts on Her Tweets

To be fair, I knew my original response would backfire, but that is ok, because now that means I get to write this quick post. Also, please forgive how rough this is. This post is a response to her the second tweet from above.

So first I was wrong because I had no experience, now I’m wrong because I did.
Maybe I’m just right.

Caitlin Johnstone (29 Apr 2021)

Well, no.
Providing sympathy for shitty experiences does not mean you are right.

A similar comparison and sympathy could be made for the veritable horrors found within monogamous relationships:

  • the sheer massive numbers of failures of relationships and marriages
  • divorce rates
  • acrid divorces
  • abuse
  • alcoholism and addiction
  • jealousy
  • cheating
  • possessiveness
  • misogyny
  • crimes of passion
  • other general relationship sociopathy

Because many, many more people have had shitty and deadly experiences with monogamy (majority relationship form in the US at least) we could make a much more powerful and apt comparison of monogamy to Capitalism (majority socioeconomic form).

The defining relationship structure within Capitalism is monogamy (competitive, controlling, violent), so any relationship form straying into anything that might be more egalitarian and equitable (such as polyamory) has deal with the brain damage we suffer from Capitalism and its requisite inequality.

Add to that also, the fact that polyamory has to face that all too prevalent systemic and structural violence that Capitalism inflicts verses any attempt to subvert it’s corrupt and violent nature (even on the relationship level) – much like the US vs Socialism globally which reflects the systemic and structural violence inherent to Capitalism as it plays out on the global stage (Global North vs Global South).

However, in both cases (monogamy and polyamory) the relationship form is not the problem. It is the systemic and structural violence – the biopsychosocial harms – caused by the socioeconomic system (Capitalism) itself which poisons ALL relationship forms – mono or poly. If monogamy and polyamory were both attempted within a socioeconomic system which was more egalitarian and equitable then relationship success and experiences would be much better. Let us put the blame where it really belongs – on the system – for the brain damage and violence it inflicts and the lives it destroys.

I am going to pull a quote from my post Tension within Methods of Exchange and modify it to fit the context of this post:

“How can we create relationships based on cooperation, egalitarianism, and peace when then core driver of Capitalism is based on Competition which powerfully rewards exploitation and sociopathy?”

Just my thoughts.

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