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The Philosophy of
Libertarian Socialism

The Opposition
to Capitalism
and the State

By Punkerslut

From Peace Libertad Blog
Image: From Peace Libertad Blog,
the "No repression" Gallery

Start Date: August 1, 2010
Finish Date: August 1, 2010

Hatred of Capitalism and the State

"The urge to create is the first and most impelling force in their lives. If this urge is lacking in the mass of workers it is not at all surprising, for their occupation is deadly routine. Without any relation to their lives or needs, their work is done in the most appalling surroundings, at the behest of those who have the power of life and death over the masses. Why then should they be impelled to give of themselves more than is absolutely necessary to eke out their miserable existence?"
          --Emma Goldman, 1934
          "Was My Life Worth Living?"

     Hatred of governments comes with any accurate understanding of history. They are founded on law, which means using coercion and force to control everyone. This presupposes the existence of police and military, equipped with weapons, or the tools of force. This, too, presupposes even more, including hierarchy, rulers, administration, prisons, barracks, and, most importantly, a constitution -- or, a justification for ruling.

     None of these images are at all ever friendly; for what can the jailer do, but imprison the people, and what can the soldier do, but execute and maim them? What expectation can there be for a judge, except that they will pass rulings in favor of their rulers and the powerful interests of society? What expectation can there be for a governor, except that they will see themselves worthy to use force to "correct" the people's "wrong" ways? These objects are created with the intention of being used to ensure the domination of the few. To see them in practice is to be revolted at the widespread misery caused.

     Hatred of Capitalism, too, comes with an understanding of the economy. The Capitalist is distinguished from the laborers, in that they are the owner of society's productive forces -- and simply by owning, they possess the right to live off of the labors of others, without contributing anything. The feeling of anti-government and anti-Capitalism grow with each other, since both systems are about an arbitrary authority using domination to create misery for the many. It comes from the displeasure of having to serve a master, to obey laws and orders, under the threat of losing either your liberty or livelihood.

     The dependence upon a ruler in Capitalism has become something detested universally. Under Liberalism, they use restraint and regulation to make it digestible. Under Monarchy, they use tradition and public charity to make it respected. Under Fascism or State Communism, they absorb the state and Capitalism together, to make it into one being, which is the formula "to create a perfect ruler." No matter what system you consider, there is always "the problem of Capitalism," because with it naturally comes inequality, crime, poverty, unemployment, and the suffering of the masses. But no system has offered a solution that has ever remedied the evil.

From RadicalGraphics.org
Image: From RadicalGraphics

Neither Statist, Nor Capitalist

"The more artificial, brutal, and authoritarian is the power of the State, the more indifferent and hostile it is to the natural developments, interests and desires of the people, the freer and more natural must be the organization of the International. It must try all the more to accommodate itself to the natural instincts and ideals of the people."
          --Mikhail Bakunin, 1869
          "The Organization of the International"

     To abolish state and Capitalism is the philosophy of Libertarian Socialism. Both Capitalism and Government, as an organization of the domination of a few, are naturally opposed to the interests of the many. The government should not rule the lives of the individuals in society; they should rule their own lives. Similarly, Capitalism should not be able to monopolize land and productive property; every worker has a right to work and to earn the fruits of their labor. In both respects, Libertarian Socialism emphasizes the concept of self-rule and self-management, whether it is local organizations of people, or worker councils in factories and mines.

     Socialism, on its own, has always been a governmentalist form of society. Whether based on dictatorship or representation, it has not created self-rule for the workers, but rather, it has transferred authority from the Capitalist to the Socialist Party. Libertarian Socialism is this form of Socialist society, except with extreme decentralization of politics. It is not sufficient that the Capitalist should simply be replaced with a member of the Socialist Party. This does not alter the essential framework of society, where the vast majority must listen to the orders of the few. Rather, everyone should have an equal right to society's productive property, because a state would only act like a new Capitalist.

     Libertarianism, as it is known in English-speaking countries, is the philosophy of limited or abolished government. But, typically, it accompanies a pro-Capitalist viewpoint, whereas in Europe "Libertarianism" is synonymous with "Anarchist Communism." But the idea of limiting government, without limiting Capitalism, still leaves the old masters who own all of the land. Since they can force anyone to starve by denying them work, they become the new kings. Libertarian Socialism is like this form of Libertarianism, except with extreme decentralization of economics. No longer is there any person who owns significant parts of industry, and can force others to work just to sustain themselves. No longer is there a class of Capitalists who exploit the majority.

     In resisting Government, the revolution must be Libertarian; and in resisting Capitalism, the revolution must be Socialist. It cannot offer "new plans" or "revised organization," where the few still maintain their domination. It must completely uproot and obliterate all forms of social control. The revolution must make its mark by creating a world in which every individual manages their own life -- and this necessitates abolishing Capitalism and the State.


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