Friday, December 30, 2005

INITIATING A POLYAMOROUS COMMUNITY IN ISRAEL




I live in the Northern part of Israel and have been considering how to initiate polyamorous get-togethers for some time.

My long-term goal is to create a polyamorous community in Israel.

There is much groundwork to lay. First, polyamory has to be more widely understood in order to gain acceptance.
Polyamory is not swinging. Polyamory is not cheating. Polyamory is all about consensual, responsible non-monogamy.

As a matter of course, bisexuals tend to be drawn to polyamory. I self-define by what is called bipoly, that is, Bisexual and Polyamorous. In order for those who are not familiar with that self-identification to understand more fully, I'll provide a link to aglossary of terms that relate to the poly lifestyle.

A caveat: Many of the terms that you will see on the link below reflect the fact that various pseudo-Polyamorous lifestyles have been adopted by people who live an "alternative" lifestyle, are making some sort of fashion statement and/or are acting out or in.

I am of the opinion that polyamory can exist side-by-side with Judaism, certainly monotheism, and in order to be practiced in a healthy, loving, sustaining way should be part of a comprehensive rethinking of how society is structured.

Rather than envisioning Polyamory as some sort of subculture lived by those who cannot find a place in mainstream society, I see Polyamory and Bisexuality becoming the norm in a mainstream Anarchic society that will evolve.

The goal is to create a society that will allow a far greater expression of love and security to exist among people. The option of Polyamory will be one aspect of that society.

Here is the link. Take what you need and leave the rest:

http://www.xeromag.com/fvpolyglossary.html (in English)

Anyone who is interested in becoming active in the polyamorous lifestyle and/or creating a polyamorous community in Israel is invited to get in touch with me at this e-mail address:

visualviolet@hotmail.com

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

A Pleasant Conversation with a Mature Poly Interlocutor


The following is an excerpted and edited version of a very pleasant correspondence that I had with a mature Jewish person who has discovered Polyamory recently. It is reposted, anonymously, with permission.

Interlocutor: Shalom Doreen,

Me: Shalom Aleikhem (Peace be upon you)!

Interlocutor: What a pleasure to hear from you!

Me: Nice to "meet" you.

Interlocutor: I sort of stumbled across some of your writings on Kosher Polyamory, Hebrew and numbers etc…

Me: Would you be kind enough to try to remember how you encountered them? I'd really like to know how people come across my work. Were you searching for something particular when you found this group?

Interlocutor: I believe that if men were allowed to have more than one wife, what would have prevented women (in a fare and balance society) to demand to have more than one husband? Polyamory could have been only a natural evolution of that believe.

Me: I believe it will be a natural part of evolution. We are still evolving. Evolution has not concluded. We are still in the process of it. I don't think that unions should be forever and a day and I do not think that polyamorous unions should mimic marriage, which has not proven itself to be a very happy state of affairs for so many. I like the Celtic idea of handfasting, where a couple joined hands for a year and a day. They could renew the union if they wished, or not. The children were not considered children of "broken homes" if they did not renew their vows. Handfasting was done for a couple, but there is no reason why it can't be done for a triad or a quad or more or for one person who wants to be handfasted to more than one person concomitantly. My father is Irish, so I guess I resonate with the Celtic tradition.

Interlocutor: I would be happy to brainstorm with you on starting a poly community in Israel. However I must warn you I am not sure I would know how start one here (town of residence was supplied by Interlocutor). We find it difficult to meet like minded people who are also poly. It would be great to find like-minded people who are poly and Jewish. What a treat that would be!

Me: Even in (where you live) meeting polies is hard?

I would definitely prefer a poly community of spiritually grounded people. Polyamory is a very advanced social form and as such easily degenerates into chaos in the wrong hands.

Interlocutor: I went to some of these meetings and needless to say I didn't meet anyone. It maybe it's me (I tend to be on the shy side in new situations) but, I found most of the people there to be for the most part the "drop out" of society and much younger than I.

Me: The observation you make above is very important.

One of my major concerns is that Polyamory has been expropriated by people making some sort of "fashion" statement or otherwise acting out.

My vision is that it will not be a subculture, but rather the norm of anarchic society practiced by just plain folks.

Nice, normal people like you can help.

Please, I reiterate, consider writing on message boards for mature people. It is important that people know that there are people like you who are in the Polyamorous state of mind.

I was hoping to form a poly cooperative of some kind.

If you haven't seen it, please read:
http://www.geocities.com/dordot2001/KibbutzPolyamoryAlmostHEB.htm

or the English version, whichever you prefer:

http://www.geocities.com/dordot2001/KibbutzPolyamoryAlmost.htm

I am of the opinion that polyamory cannot take on healthy forms in capitalistic, greedy societies. It needs to be part of a comprehensive, humanistic societal structure. Otherwise, it easily degenerates into something cheap, ugly, and merely for one's own gross gratification.

Thank you for sharing something about who you are with me. Col HaCavod (more power) to you! When I posted about polyamory on the ICQ message board for mature people, people laughed at me and said: "Yeah, sure, people at that age worrying about polyamory." But I knew that there is no reason why not. Polyamory is principally about love. By the time one is mature he or she should be in possession of a great capacity for love. Besides which, many people remain sexually active well into their 80s. Maturity is a great time to become poly.

This is the link to one of the ICQ message boards that I posted "Kosher Polyamory Redux" on:
http://www.icq.com/boards/view_messages.php?tid=341&topic_id=736850
as you see, they weren't tremendously receptive. I think their reaction is pretty typical.

I hope you'll help me toward those goals.

With blessings,

DoreenEllen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
visualviolet@hotmail.com

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I AM BISEXUAL, POLYAMOROUS AND AN ANARCHIST


I am Bisexual, Polyamorous and an Anarchist. This should be a mere statement matter of fact, not taken as a radical declaration. Better yet, it shouldn't really need to be said at all. It should be enough to just be me. I should be living in a society that is not dominated either by an intrusive government or a benighted Rabbinut and go about the business of living and loving as I will, guided only by the desire to increase good. But In Israel it is a singular act of courage to so much as self-disclose in this manner.

Being Bisexual, Polyamourous and an Anarchist is being thrice wholly misunderstood in Israel.

Bisexuals aren't readily accepted by anyone. We are not "queer". We should not be lumped together with the GLT, BDSMs and the heterosexuals – all those whose sexuality is partially expressed, unhealthily expressed and/or bespeaks an underdeveloped ability to love oneself and others.

We, the bisexual polyamorous (also called bipoly) embody the most healthy and whole Human sexuality. We are the sexuality of the future. Ours is the sexual expression that will become the norm as society becomes better fit to Human needs.

Polyamory is likewise misunderstood. It is thought of as some sort of hedonistic swinging or cheating and a total disregard for the sensibilities and sensitivities of one's sexual partners.

Polyamory, it must be stressed and repeated, is not about cheating and not about swinging. Polyamory is being able to love, truly love, more than one mate profoundly and intimately in a sustained way. Polyamory is defined as consensual, responsible non-monogamy.

Finally, I am an anarchist. The nouns 'anarchy', 'anarchism' and 'anarchist', being misunderstood as well, conjure up mental images of a society that has come undone and has fallen into utter chaos, wherein violence is rampant and there are no societal means of bringing the nightmare under control.

Let us look at the definitions of those terms for clarification:

Anarchy: 1 a : absence of government b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government2 a : absence or denial of any authority or established order b : absence of order :
DISORDER

Anarchism: 1 : a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups2 : the advocacy or practice of
anarchistic principles

Anarchist: 1 : one who rebels against any authority, established order, or ruling power2 : one who believes in, advocates, or promotes
anarchism or anarchy; especially : one who uses violent means to overthrow the established order (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Anarchy is simply the absence of government. Anarchists feel most comfortable with definitions 1a and 1c of 'anarchy'. Whereas, most people who are not anarchists would define the absence of the order that governments impose as disorder, but this is not the case. Disorder is the opposite of order, not the absence thereof. Therefore, definition 2a of 'anarchy' is clearly incorrect.

Further, it must be asked: Is that which governments impose on their citizenries order? Is it the highest degree of order possible in society? We see a great deal of lawlessness and disorder in society precisely because a government is in place. Therefore, definition 1b of 'anarchy' may be set aside as erroneous as well.

Anarchists would agree with definition 1 of entry 'anarchism'. As to definition 2, we must look at entry 'anarchist', which is how we define ourselves, in order to see if the dictionary's definition jibes with our self-definition.

While it is true that there are some "hot heads" that would fit the Merriam-Webster definition of "anarchist", they are not considered true anarchists by anarchists.

The definition of an anarchist, a genuine anarchist, is one whose sentiments are best summed up in the following excerpt, the author of which is unknown to me:

THE BENEFITS OF NON-CLASS STRUGGLE ANARCHISM TO THE MOVEMENT AS A WHOLE

Revolution is a process ever going. Like a river it flows; changing shape, altering its course, sometimes slowing down, sometimes becoming a rapid. At times we lose sight of it behind the dogma of some ideology or another. But it can never be stopped. Since the first slave said 'no', since the first people rose up against the tyrants, since the concept of Freedom was formed, the Revolution has always been there. As a comrade wrote to me, "Revolution is a process, not an historical event". The nature of the Revolution stems from the forces it encounters, the aspirations of those within it, and the strength of the reaction. If it can progress unrestrained, then it is likely to be peaceful. The ends will never justify the means, they are inextricably bound together and what better way is there of taking someone's freedom than by killing them. Violence is the basis upon which government stands, and as such it is the counter Revolution. From the writings of Kropotkin up to Colin Ward there have been attempts to hi-light points in existing society where the river may flow - worker co-ops, food co-ops, alternative welfare and education, and countless examples of how order is spontaneous, and springs up from the very act, and point of association itself: "What kept us together was our work, our mutual interdependencies in this work, our factual interests in one gigantic problem with its many specialist ramifications. I had not solicited co-workers. They had come of themselves. They remained, or they left when the work no longer held them. We had not formed a political group, or worked out a programme of action...Each one had made his contribution according to his interests in the work...There are, then objective biological work functions capable of regulating human co-operation. Exemplary work organises its forms of functioning organically and spontaneously, even though only gradually, gropingly and often making mistakes. In contra-distinction, the political organisations, with their 'campaigns' and 'platforms' proceed without any connection with the tasks and problems of daily life". Like the fishermen in Brixham, or the miners in Durham or Brora, Scotland, workers co-operatives provide small, rare examples of how a task provides its own point of association, and provides the associates with a focus, that transcends any necessity for coercive pressure. In short, the act of society provides its own order internally, whereas all ' governments attempt to impose it externally, stifling and smothering the social instinct. These examples exist in modern society. They are not memories of an age before the nation-state, but are modern facts. Paul Goodman once described anarchism as both conservative and radical, for we must attempt to conserve those places where liberty may be developed in full, as well as create new ones. Gustav Landaur also wrote along the same lines "The state is not something which can be destroyed by a revolution, it is a condition of human behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently". Even, according to the film 'Michael Collins', the Irish Republican leader Eamon de Valera spoke along the same lines by claiming roughly that "We defeat the British Government by ignoring it".

Obviously, what is said about the British government in the passage above is applicable to all governments that stand vis-à-vis a governed.

We see, then, that the dictionary definition of 'anarchist' is patent nonsense and may be discarded in toto.
My vision is the founding of a BiPoly Community, which is an anarchistic cooperative, of some kind in Israel.

It is my conviction that healthy Polyamory cannot exist in a society dominated by capitalism, and the concomitant being number one, insensitivity to one's fellows, competitiveness and so on.

We are witness to far too many people in capitalist societies, societies in which emotional starvation has been painstakingly cultivated as a means to spur materialism in vain hopes of filling the abyss within, who call themselves polyamorists, but who are, in actuality, self-gratifying generates. Polyamory, in general, simply does not work for those firmly ensconced in the "me generation" mentality.

My vision is to urge Israel in the direction of evolving into an anarchistic society, i.e., a society marked by the absence of oppressive government; a vibrant, robust, natural, normal form of Human interaction in which true Bisexual Polyamory can exist as a norm.

I believe that as we evolve into more loving and more Human beings, we will change how our intimate relationships are expressed, our familial structures will take different forms and, of course, we will develop societies that allow for greater freedoms and quality.

Somebody in Israel has to speak up for those goals.

I realized it devolved upon me and I have begun writing on these subjects in my own name here in Israel. My husband, Daniel, has been helping me to translate my writings into his flawless Hebrew.

It's scary to "come out" in Israel, especially where I live, in Tzfat, which is a small, fanatically religious town.

Someone has to loosen the fetters of society telling us how much we can love and how, even as how much money we can have and how we are permitted to disburse it is dictated to us.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
visualviolet@hotmail.com

BEING BISEXUAL AND POLYAMOROUS (ALSO CALLED BIPOLY) IS THE FULLEST AND MOST HEALTHY HUMAN SEXUAL EXPRESSION

I am of the opinion that bisexuals need not be included in the GLBT acronym at all. GLBT reminds me of the tasty sandwich that I used to enjoy on lightly toasted whole wheat bread with a smear of mayo and a sprinkling of freshly-ground pepper before I started keeping kosher. It is not a community that I will allow myself to be relegated to because I am not heterosexual.

I simply won't be pushed down the slippery slide of having to accept being gay, lesbian and transgendered as normal sexuality because I belong to what is, for the present, a minority.

Neither do I accept people who enjoy being hurt and having permanent changes made in their bodies as part of their sexuality as normal and healthy. I am not "queer", magnificently idiosyncratic to be sure, but in no wise peculiar.

There will come a time when the majority of Human beings will embrace being Polyamorous and Bisexual. When that time comes the other sexual expressions, which are imperfect and expressions of the fact that we have not learned to love fully will, of themselves, fade out of existence.

We, the bisexual polyamorous, are the ones, and the only ones, who are in full possession of the full range of our sexuality.

The GLTs are like the heterosexuals - the people who are not expressing healthy and/or complete Human sexuality.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

visualviolet@hotmail.com