I’ve been discussing with Right-”Libertarians” lately quite a bit, especially after the Division by Zer0 was linked from a related social network as well as in Reddit. Unfortunately it seems that while most Libertarian Socialists are aware of the positions of such opponents, it’s very rare for propertarians to be familiar with LibSoc positions, leading to the same tired old arguments that one hopes the AFAQ would have prevented by now.
I’ve been arguing against those points so often lately that I’m really getting tired of repeating myself every time some propertarian jumps to the same conclusions just because they don’t know better. As such, I’ve decided to write this primer which will simply be a list of relevant links touching on all such common points raised. I’m hoping it will serve as a handy link to give to those unfamiliar with LibSoc and avoid needless repetition.
Isn’t Libertarian Socialism An Oxymoron?
By far the most common reply once someone first hears about it. It’s also the most telling since it shows that the one asking it is very unfamiliar with LibSoc and thus a perfect candidate for a link to this primer.
- A Detailed argument on why it’s not a contradiction in terms from the AFAQ.
- Encyclopaedic entry on the historical and contemporary use of the term.
- A video on this issue by Noam Chomsky.
Abolishing Private Property
You will certainly be confused about what LibSocs are talking about if you do not realize the way that they use the term “Private Property”, what they mean by the abolition thereof, what Possession is and the fundamental differences between them
- A simple explanation of the distinctions between Private Property and Possession.
- Clarifying the fundamental difference between those two.
- The AFAQ explains why we’re against Private Property in more detail.
Free Markets and Socialism
Private Property is usually presupposed in the existence of the free markets and/or liberty but this is not required. Unfortunately from this presupposition one then makes the straw-man argument that socialists wish to coercively prevent free markets or voluntary exchange. This is false. Not only are there forms of socialism which are compatible with Free Markets such as Mutualism but even communists wouldn’t try to stop it actively.
- Mutualism: Free Market Socialism on Wikipedia.
- The most prominent Mutualist stop on the web.
- The fallacy of conflating Free Markets with Libertarianism.
The Labour Theory of Value
Libertarian Socialists as a rule tend to support the Labour Theory of Value in some form (although that’s not always the case). Right-Libertarians are trigger happy in accusing them of supporting debunked theories based on a argument from authority (the authority of Boehm Bawerk mainly). But the reason why socialists still support the LTV is because we see it as the most scientific way to describe the capitalist mode of production and because the criticisms brought against it are generally weak.
- An introduction to understand how the LTV can have a realistic basis.
- A synthesis of the LTV with Marginalism by a free market anti-capitalist.
- A youtube playlist with an excellent introduction to LTV concepts for the layman.
Why can’t we all just get along?
A very common point makde, especially from those calling themselves “Anarcho-Capitalists” is the request to put aside our differences and work together to topple the state. They do not understand why LibSocs want nothing to do with them.
- A to the point explanation on why Anarchists and “Anarcho”-Capitalists can’t be allies.
- No, we don’t get more similar even if you call yourselves libertarian socialists.
Ah, human nature. The favourite argument of every two-bit authoritarian. There has never been a concept more used from each and every political camp as an ultimate trump-card against all other social theories.
- The AFAQ explains why such an argument is very weak.
- Kropotkin’s Seminal work on Mutual Aid scientifically proved that it is co-operation, not competition and strife that compells humans and most successful animals (in terms of population size). And no, it’s not obsolete.
- Are humans naturally hierarchical?
- And finally, I approach the human nature argument from another perspective.
I will try to keep this primer up to date with newer or better posts and I’ll be adding more classic questions once I get annoyed at them enough. Please do recommend more such subjects and provide links for them as well. I will be happy to improve this guide as much as possible.
Other than that, link, tweet and share far and wide. Hopefully we might avoid wasting so much time explaining the same concepts over and over again.
As for any right-”libertarian” having reached this point, I hope that by now you have a better understanding of LibSoc concepts and we can avoid rehashing the same stuff with both sides getting increasingly annoyed at the apparent obtuseness of the other. Hopefully this will help the dialogue between us to be constructive rather than an exercise in frustration. I hope you too will share this article to people from your side that you notice are ignorant of the fundamentals.