What Libertarian Socialists Want
It's a classic tactic against any reasonable political proposal, to declare it an evil scheme of the left to take away our freedoms through deception and inevitable violence, but what does the left actually want? As a libertarian socialist I will try to answer that for myself and the movement in general to demonstrate our goals are not only good, they are imminently appealing.
Most broadly the libertarian left seeks liberty, equality, and solidarity for all people. Liberty means being able to do whatever one likes so long they allow others the same freedom. This includes classic liberal values like freedom of speech, the press, belief, association, privacy, self-defense, and trial by jury. Socialists however go beyond liberalism by insisting on the freedom of all to a say in how the wealth of the world is used and distributed. They point to the inescapable truth that no one is the sole agent of their own success. All human efforts are only made possible by the immeasurable efforts made by others before them. Likewise, the child of the rich is no more responsible for their good fortune than the poor child is for their squalor.
To be free every person must have a say, a vote, on the wealth of the world. The opulence of the banker could only occur thanks to the toils of ancestors shared in common with peasants on every continent. The only reparation for the countless thefts of one heir from another is to give every conscious adult an equal vote in the distribution of our collective inheritance. It should be fantastically clear that the human race would never abolish the individual's right to personal possessions, but if an agreed upon proportion of society requires certain resources for an agreed upon as justified purpose it will do whatever it can to expropriate those resources from whomever holding them. It is not the vote's purpose to legitimize expropriation, rather it is only a means of averting more violent forms of conflict while also making clear whenever hoarders are violating their social contract, to save them the shame of consequently being denied the benefits of society all loyal citizens are free to enjoy.
Libertarian socialists recognize, however, that freedom of expression and voting are hardly freedom at all if people are ever denied free access to their basic needs of life, particularly housing, food, medicine, water, information, childcare, leisure, and a safe environment.
Thus, we want and seek freedom, to express ourselves, to take care of ourselves, and to reward ourselves for the work we do for each other. The simplest way to guarantee free access to basic goods and services is to simply give everyone newly printed money to adequately meet their needs, either given directly to producers or to the consumers themselves. Taxes can be used to discourage over-consumption and hoarding, but are unnecessary to prevent inflation since inflation is itself a tax on hoarding, so long producers are materially able to meet demand. Since we have the resources and technology already to provide everyone the basics of survival it only causes unneeded stress and suffering not to print and give people the money to access them. Conservatives may decry this “debasement” of the currency as stealing from the rich, but again this money-printing is only being done to avoid more forceful methods of expropriating resources innately belonging to everyone equally. Imagine the lives we could enjoy if we didn't needlessly force ourselves to work endless hours just to sustain them.
Thus, we seek through both political and social means to secure the basic needs and liberties we deserve. We seek this security directly through mutual aid and regionally through ballot propositions. We condemn all forms of “representative democracy” that are not bound by mandate to the will of the people. We prefer a delegative democracy as opposed to the bribery-fueled plutocratic oligarchy currently claiming to be a republic.
This liberty we seek is nothing without equality and solidarity. We must defend the liberties of our fellow humans even when we ourselves are in no danger, so that they might return the favor when we are threatened, and to finally relieve ourselves from the guilt of perpetuating needless suffering and oppression on our own siblings and cousins. If these ends we seek appeal to you, we urge you to not just join our movement and organizations, but to also join together with your friends and family wherever you are and through the internet wherever they are. We do not need leaders to act. Find each other, form groups, clubs, associations, unions and confederations, and take what's ours! Freedom! Life! Happiness! There is still time to achieve what we have always sought for if only we act now!
– Erikos Andropoulos, California
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