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Libertarian socialism is a philosophy with diverse interpretations, though some general commonalities can be found in its many incarnations. Its proponents generally advocate a worker-oriented system of distribution that in some aspects radically departs from conventional capitalist economics (socialism). They propose that this economic system be executed in a manner that attempts to maximize the liberty of individuals and minimize concentration of power or authority (libertarianism). Libertarian socialists are strongly critical of coercive institutions, which often leads them to reject the legitimacy of the state in favor of anarchism. Adherents propose achieving this through decentralization of political and economic power, usually involving the socialization of most large-scale property and enterprise. Libertarian socialism tends to deny the legitimacy of most forms of economically significant private property, viewing capitalist property relations as forms of domination that are antagonistic to individual freedom.
The first person to describe himself as a libertarian was Joseph Déjacque, an early French anarchist communist. The word stems from the French word libertaire, and was used to evade the French ban on anarchist publications. In the context of the European socialist movement, libertarian has conventionally been used to describe those who opposed state socialism, such as Mikhail Bakunin. In the United States, the movement most commonly called libertarianism follows a capitalist philosophy; the term libertarian socialism therefore strikes many Americans as a contradiction in terms. However, the association of socialism with libertarianism predates that of capitalism, and many anti-authoritarians still decry what they see as a mistaken association of capitalism with libertarianism in the United States. As Noam Chomsky put it, a consistent libertarian "must oppose private ownership of the means of production and the wage slavery which is a component of this system, as incompatible with the principle that labor must be freely undertaken and under the control of the producer."
In a chapter recounting the history of libertarian socialism, economist Robin Hahnel relates that thus far the period where libertarian socialism has had its greatest impact was at the end of the 19th century through the first four decades of the twentieth century.
"Early in the twentieth century, libertarian socialism was as powerful a force as social democracy and communism. The Libertarian International– founded at the Congress of Saint Imier a few days after the split between Marxist and libertarians at the congress of the Socialist International held in The Hague in 1872– competed successfully against social democrats and communists alike for the loyalty of anticapitalist activists, revolutionaries, workers, unions and political parties for over fifty years. Libertarian socialists played a major role in the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917. Libertarian socialists played a dominant role in the Mexican Revolution of 1911. Twenty years after World War I was over, libertarian socialists were still strong enough to spearhead the social revolution that swept across Republican Spain in 1936 and 1937."
Libertarian socialists believe that all social bonds should be developed by individuals who have an equal amount of bargaining power, that an accumulation of economic power in the hands of a few and the centralization of political power both reduce the bargaining power—and thus the liberty of the other individuals in society. To put it another way, capitalist (and right-libertarian) principles concentrate economic power in the hands of those who own the most capital. Libertarian socialism aims to distribute power, and thus freedom, more equally amongst members of society. A key difference between libertarian socialism and free-market libertarianism is that advocates of the former generally believe that one's degree of freedom is affected by one's economic and social status, whereas advocates of the latter focus on freedom of choice. This is sometimes characterized as a desire to maximize "free creativity" in a society in preference to "free enterprise."
Originally posted by ventian
reply to post by Misoir
Very good to read on some history. I didn't know it was originally socialist in nature. More hijacking of the original words I guess. Kind of like how communism turned in the opposite direction is modern day communism. Still a libertarian, just not a socialist libertarian. Thanks for the read.
Originally posted by Misoir
I guess there are no ATS members who call themselves Libertarian. HUH, imagine that.
Originally posted by David9176
Well the last political survey I did, can't remember which one exactly (it's on one of the threads here), stated I was a Liberal Libertarian...which makes sense at least in my eyes.
Though those words look to be contradictory...even those they are damn near the same word!
Originally posted by endisnighe
reply to post by ANOK
Oh your limited pie bull#.
Tell me, let us say I create a piece of art did that come from the pie?
Or if I create labor to accomplish anything? Did that come from the pie?