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The Libertarianism Portal

Libertarianism (from Latin libertas, meaning "freedom") is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle.

Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association and individual judgment. Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.

Most libertarians, specifically left-libertarians, seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty. Some libertarians, notably right-libertarians, instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights, such as in land, infrastructure and natural resources.

An additional line of division is between minarchists and anarchists—while minarchists think that a minimal centralized government is necessary, socialist anarchists and anarcho-capitalists propose to completely eliminate the state.

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Libertarian communism is a theory of anarchism which advocates the abolition of the state, capitalism, wage labour and private property (while retaining respect for personal property) in favor of common ownership of the means of production, direct democracy and a horizontal network of workers' councils with production and consumption based on the guiding principle: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need".

Some forms of libertarian communism, such as insurrectionary anarchism, are strongly influenced by egoism and radical individualism, believing libertarian communism is the best social system for the realization of individual freedom. Some libertarian communists view libertarian communism as a way of reconciling the opposition between the individual and society.

Libertarian communism developed out of radical socialist currents after the French Revolution, but was first formulated as such in the Italian section of the First International. The work of Peter Kropotkin took importance later as it expanded and developed pro-organizationalist and insurrectionary anti-organizationalist sections. To date, the best-known examples of libertarian communist societies were the anarchist territories during the Spanish Revolution and the Free Territory during the Russian Revolution.

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But what the Left That Was demanded was not the symbolic image of the "broken rifle" - so very much in vogue these days in pacifist boutiques - but the training and arming of the people for revolutionary ends, solely in the form of democratic militias. A resolution coauthored by Luxemburg and Lenin (a rare event) and adopted by the Second International in 1906 declared that it "sees in the democratic organization of the army, in the popular militia instead of the standing army, an essential guarantee for the prevention of aggressive wars, and for facilitating the removal of differences between nations.

This was not simply an antiwar resolution, although opposition to the war that was fast approaching was the principal focus of the statement. The arming of the people was a basic tenet of the Left That Was, and pious demands for gun control among today's leftists would have been totally alien to the thinking of the Left That Was. As recently as 1930s, the concept of "the people in arms" remained a basic tenet of independent socialist, no to speak of anarchist, movements throughout the world, including those of the United States, as I myself so well remember. The notion of schooling the masses in reliance on the police and army for public safety, much less turning the other cheek in the face of violence, would have been regarded as heinous.

— Murray Bookchin (1921–2006)
Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism (1995)

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The Gadsden flag, named after American general and politician Christopher Gadsden who designed it in 1775 during the American Revolution, is used by American libertarians
Credit: Lexicon, Vikrum

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Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, political activist, author and lecturer who is also an Institute Professor and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chomsky is well known in the academic and scientific community as one of the fathers of modern linguistics. Since the 1960s, he has become known more widely as a political dissident, an anarchist and a libertarian socialist intellectual. Chomsky is often viewed as a notable figure in contemporary philosophy.

Beginning with his opposition to the Vietnam War, Chomsky established himself as a prominent critic of United States foreign and domestic policy. He has since established himself as a prominent and prolific political philosopher and commentator. He is a self-declared anarcho-syndicalist as an adherent of libertarian socialism, which he regards as "the proper and natural extension of classical liberalism into the era of advanced industrial society".


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