Left-libertarianism (or left-wing libertarianism) names several related, but distinct approaches to political and social theory which stress both individual freedom and social equality. In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, e.g. libertarian socialism, which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism among others. Left-libertarianism can also refer to political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources. While maintaining full respect for personal property, left-libertarians are skeptical of or fully against private ownership of natural resources, arguing that neither claiming nor mixing one's labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights and maintain that natural resources (raw land, oil, gold, the electromagnetic spectrum, air-space, etc.) should be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under the condition that recompense is offered to the local or even global community. On the other hand, left-wing market anarchism, which includes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's mutualism and Samuel Edward Konkin III's agorism, appeals to left-wing concerns such as egalitarianism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration and environmentalism within the paradigm of a socialist free market. In the United States, the word "libertarian" has become associated with right-libertarianism after Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess reached out to the New Left in the 1960s. However, until then political usage of the word was associated exclusively with anti-capitalism and in most parts of the world such an association still predominates.
The term left-libertarian has been used to refer to a variety of different political economic philosophies, emphasizing individual liberty. According to one textbook:
The term "left-libertanism" has at least three meanings. In its oldest sense, it is a synonym either for anarchism in general or social anarchism in particular. Later it became a term for the left or Konkinite wing of the free-market libertarian movement, and has since come to cover a range of pro-market but anti-capitalist positions, mostly individualist anarchist, including agorism and mutualism, often with an implication of sympathies (such as for radical feminism or the labor movement) not usually shared by anarcho-capitalists. In a third sense it has recently come to be applied to a position combining individual self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resources; most proponents of this position are not anarchists.
Contemporary left-libertarian scholars such as Hillel Steiner, Peter Vallentyne, Philippe Van Parijs, Michael Otsuka and David Ellerman root an economic egalitarianism in the classical liberal concepts of self-ownership and appropriation. They hold that it is illegitimate for anyone to claim private ownership of natural resources to the detriment of others, a condition John Locke explicated in Two Treatises of Government. Locke argued that natural resources could be appropriated as long as doing so satisfies the proviso that there remains "enough, and as good, left in common for others". In this view, unappropriated natural resources are either unowned or owned in common and private appropriation is legitimate only if everyone can appropriate an equal amount or the property is taxed to compensate those who are excluded. This position is articulated in contrast to the position of other libertarians who argue for a characteristically labor-based right to appropriate unequal parts of the external world, such as land. Most left-libertarians of this tradition support some form of economic rent redistribution on the grounds that each individual is entitled to an equal share of natural resources and argue for the desirability of state social welfare programs.
Economists since Adam Smith have known that—unlike other forms of taxation—a land value tax would not cause economic inefficiency. It would be a progressive tax—that is, a tax paid primarily by the wealthy—that increases wages, reduces economic inequality, removes incentives to misuse real estate and reduces the vulnerability that economies face from credit and property bubbles. Early proponents of this view include Thomas Paine, Herbert Spencer and Hugo Grotius, but the concept was widely popularized by the political economist and social reformer Henry George. George believed that people ought to own the fruits of their labor and the value of the improvements they make, thus he was opposed to tariffs, income taxes, sales taxes, poll taxes, property taxes (on improvements) and to any tax on production, consumption or capital wealth. George was among the staunchest defenders of free markets and his book Protection or Free Trade was read into the United States Congressional Record.
Early followers of Henry George's philosophy called themselves "single taxers" because they believed the only economically and morally legitimate, broad-based tax is on land rent. The term "Georgism" was coined later, though some modern proponents prefer the less eponymous term geoism instead, leaving the meaning of geo- (from the Greek ge, meaning "earth") deliberately ambiguous. The terms "Earth Sharing", "geonomics" and "geolibertarianism" are used by some Georgists to represent a difference of emphasis or divergent ideas about how the land value tax revenue should be spent or redistributed to residents, but all agree that economic rent must be recovered from private landholders.
Geolibertarianism is a political movement and ideology that synthesizes libertarianism and geoist theory, traditionally known as Georgism. Geolibertarians generally advocate distributing the land rent to the community via a land value tax as proposed by Henry George and others before him. For this reason, they are often called "single taxers". Fred E. Foldvary coined the word "geo-libertarianism" in an article so titled in Land and Liberty. In the case of geoanarchism, a proposed voluntaryist form of geolibertarianism as described by Foldvary, rent would be collected by private associations with the opportunity to secede from a geocommunity (and not receive the geocommunity's services) if desired.
Oxford University philosopher G. A. Cohen extensively criticized the claim, characteristic of the Georgist school of political economy, that self-ownership and a privilege-free society can be realized simultaneously. In Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality, Cohen argued that any system purporting to take equality and its enforcement seriously is not consistent with the full emphasis on self-ownership and negative freedom that defines market libertarian thought.
Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies characterized by self-governed, non-hierarchical, voluntary institutions. It developed in the 19th century from the secular or religious thought of the Enlightenment, particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau's arguments for the moral centrality of freedom.
As part of the political turmoil of the 1790s and in the wake of the French Revolution , William Godwin developed the first expression of modern anarchist thought. According to anarchist Peter Kropotkin, Godwin was "the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his work". Godwin instead attached his ideas to an early Edmund Burke. Godwin is generally regarded as the founder of philosophical anarchism. He argued in Political Justice that government has an inherently malevolent influence on society, and that it perpetuates dependency and ignorance. He thought the proliferation of reason would eventually cause government to wither away as an unnecessary force. Although he did not accord the state with moral legitimacy, he was against the use of revolutionary tactics for removing the government from power, rather he advocated for its replacement through a process of peaceful evolution. His aversion to the imposition of a rules-based society led him to denounce, as a manifestation of the people's "mental enslavement", the foundations of law, property rights and even the institution of marriage. He considered the basic foundations of society as constraining the natural development of individuals to use their powers of reasoning to arrive at a mutually beneficial method of social organization. In each case, government and its institutions are shown to constrain the development of our capacity to live wholly in accordance with the full and free exercise of private judgment.
In France, revolutionaries began using the term anarchiste in a positive light as early as September 1793. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was the first self-proclaimed anarchist (a label he adopted in his treatise What is Property?) and is often described as the founder of modern anarchist theory. He developed the theory of spontaneous order in society in which organisation emerges without a central coordinator imposing its own idea of order against the wills of individuals acting in their own interests, saying: "Liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order". Proudhon answers his own question in What is Property? with the famous statement: "Property is theft". He opposed the institution of decreed property ("proprietorship") in which owners have complete rights to "use and abuse" their property as they wish and contrasted this with usufruct ("possession") or limited ownership of resources only while in more or less continuous use. Later, Proudhon added that "Property is Liberty" and argued that it was a bulwark against state power. His opposition to the state, organized religion and certain capitalist practices inspired subsequent anarchists and made him one of the leading social thinkers of his time.
In a scathing letter written in 1857, French anarchist Joseph Déjacque castigated Proudhon for his sexist economic and political views. He argued that "it is not the product of his or her labour that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature". Déjacque later named his anarchist publication The Libertarian: Journal of the Social Movement, which was printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861. In the mid-1890s, Sébastien Faure began publishing a new Le Libertaire while France's Third Republic enacted the "villainous laws" (lois scélérates), which banned anarchist publications in France. Libertarianism has frequently been used as a synonym for anarchism since this time, especially in continental Europe.
Josiah Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published, an enterprise for which he built his own printing press, cast his own type and made his own printing plates. Warren was a follower of Robert Owen and joined Owen's community at New Harmony, Indiana. Josiah Warren termed the phrase "Cost the limit of price", with "cost" referring not to monetary price paid, but the labor one exerted to produce an item. Therefore, "[h]e proposed a system to pay people with certificates indicating how many hours of work they did. They could exchange the notes at local time stores for goods that took the same amount of time to produce". He put his theories to the test by establishing an experimental "labor for labor store" called the Cincinnati Time Store where trade was facilitated by notes backed by a promise to perform labor. The store proved successful and operated for three years after which it was closed so that Warren could pursue establishing colonies based on mutualism (these included Utopia and Modern Times). Warren said that Stephen Pearl Andrews' The Science of Society, published in 1852, was the most lucid and complete exposition of Warren's own theories. American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker argued that the elimination of what he called "the four monopolies"—the land monopoly, the money and banking monopoly, the monopoly powers conferred by patents and the quasi-monopolistic effects of tariffs—would undermine the power of the wealthy and big business, making possible widespread property ownership and higher incomes for ordinary people, while minimizing the power of would-be bosses and achieving socialist goals without state action. Tucker influenced and interacted with anarchist contemporaries—including Lysander Spooner, Voltairine de Cleyre, Dyer D. Lum and William B. Greene—who have in various ways influenced later left-libertarian thinking.
The Catalan politician Francesc Pi i Margall became the principal translator of Proudhon's works into Spanish and later briefly became president of Spain in 1873 while being the leader of the Democratic Republican Federal Party. For prominent anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker: "The first movement of the Spanish workers was strongly influenced by the ideas of Pi y Margall, leader of the Spanish Federalists and disciple of Proudhon. Pi y Margall was one of the outstanding theorists of his time and had a powerful influence on the development of libertarian ideas in Spain. His political ideas had much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly [sic], Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order". Pi i Margall was a dedicated theorist in his own right, especially through book-length works such as La reacción y la revolución ("Reaction and revolution") in 1855, Las nacionalidades ("Nationalities") in 1877 and La Federación ("Federation") in 1880.
In the 1950s, classical liberals in the United States began identifying as libertarians in order to distance themselves from the social liberals of the New Left. Since this time, it has become useful to distinguish this modern American libertarianism, which promotes laissez-faire capitalism and generally a night-watchman state, from traditional, left-wing anarchism. Accordingly, the former is often described as right-wing libertarianism or simply right-libertarianism, while synonyms for the latter include left-libertarianism, libertarian socialism, socialist anarchism and left-anarchism.
Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social anarchism, left-libertarianism and socialist libertarianism) is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy and sometimes the state itself. It criticizes wage labour relationships within the workplace, instead emphasizing workers' self-management of the workplace and decentralized structures of political organization, asserting that a society based on freedom and justice can be achieved through abolishing authoritarian institutions that control certain means of production and subordinate the majority to an owning class or political and economic elite. Libertarian socialists advocate for decentralized structures based on direct democracy and federal or confederal associations such as libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions and workers' councils. All of this is generally done within a general call for libertarian and voluntary human relationships through the identification, criticism and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of human life.
Past and present political philosophies and movements commonly described as libertarian socialist include anarchism (especially anarchist communism, anarchist collectivism, anarcho-syndicalism and mutualism) as well as autonomism, Communalism, participism, guild socialism, revolutionary syndicalism and libertarian Marxist philosophies such as council communism and Luxemburgism and some versions of utopian socialism and individualist anarchism.
While with notable exceptions American market-oriented libertarians after Benjamin Tucker tended to ally with the political right, relationships between such libertarians and the New Left thrived in the 1960s, laying the groundwork for modern left-wing market anarchism. Austrian School economist Murray Rothbard was initially an enthusiastic partisan of the Old Right, particularly because of its general opposition to war and imperialism, but long embraced a reading of American history that emphasized the role of elite privilege in shaping legal and political institutions, one that was thus naturally agreeable to many on the left. In the 1960s, he came increasingly to seek alliances on the left, especially with members of the New Left, in light of the Vietnam War, the military draft and the emergence of the black power movement. Working with other radicals like Ronald Radosh and Karl Hess, Rothbard argued that the consensus view of American economic history, according to which a beneficent government has used its power to counter corporate predation, is fundamentally flawed. Rather, government intervention in the economy has largely benefited established players at the expense of marginalized groups, to the detriment of both liberty and equality. Moreover, the robber baron period, hailed by the right and despised by the left as a heyday of laissez-faire, was not characterized by laissez-faire at all, but it was a time of massive state privilege accorded to capital. In tandem with his emphasis on the intimate connection between state and corporate power, he defended the seizure of corporations dependent on state largesse by workers and others. Rothbard himself ultimately broke with the left, allying himself instead with the burgeoning paleoconservative movement. He criticized the tendency of left-libertarians to appeal to "'free spirits,' to people who don't want to push other people around, and who don't want to be pushed around themselves" in contrast to "the bulk of Americans", who "might well be tight-assed conformists, who want to stamp out drugs in their vicinity, kick out people with strange dress habits, etc." Some thinkers associated with market-oriented American libertarianism, drawing on the work of Rothbard during his alliance with the left and on the thought of Karl Hess, came increasingly to identify with the left on a range of issues, including opposition to war, to corporate oligopolies and state-corporate partnerships, and an affinity for cultural liberalism. This left-libertarianism is associated with scholars such as Kevin Carson, Roderick T. Long, Samuel Edward Konkin III, Sheldon Richman, Chris Matthew Sciabarra and Gary Chartier who stress the value of radically free markets, termed "freed markets" to distinguish them from the common conception which these libertarians believe to be riddled with statist and capitalist privileges.
Referred to as left-wing market anarchists or market-oriented left-libertarians, proponents of this approach strongly affirm the classical liberal ideas of self-ownership and free markets, while maintaining that, taken to their logical conclusions, these ideas support strongly anti-corporatist, anti-hierarchical, pro-labor positions in economics; anti-imperialism in foreign policy; and thoroughly liberal or radical views regarding such cultural issues as gender, sexuality and race. While adopting familiar libertarian views, including opposition to drug prohibition, gun control, civil liberties violations and war, left-libertarians are more likely to take more distinctively leftist stances on issues as diverse as feminism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration and environmentalism. Members of this school typically urge the abolition of the state, arguing that vast disparities in wealth and social influence result from the use of force—especially state power—to steal and engross land and acquire and maintain special privileges. They judge that in a stateless society the kinds of privileges secured by the state will be absent and injustices perpetrated or tolerated by the state can be rectified, thus they conclude that with state interference eliminated it will be possible to achieve "socialist ends by market means". According to libertarian scholar Sheldon Richman:
Left-libertarians favor worker solidarity vis-à-vis bosses, support poor people's squatting on government or abandoned property, and prefer that corporate privileges be repealed before the regulatory restrictions on how those privileges may be exercised. They see Walmart as a symbol of corporate favoritism – supported by highway subsidies and eminent domain – view the fictive personhood of the limited-liability corporation with suspicion, and doubt that Third World sweatshops would be the "best alternative" in the absence of government manipulation. Left-libertarians tend to eschew electoral politics, having little confidence in strategies that work through the government. They prefer to develop alternative institutions and methods of working around the state.
Agorism is an anarchist tendency founded by Samuel Edward Konkin III which advocates counter-economics, working in untaxable black or grey markets and boycotting as much as possible the unfree, taxed market with the intended result that private voluntary institutions emerge and outcompete statist ones.
Contemporary left-libertarian scholars such as Hillel Steiner, Peter Vallentyne, Philippe Van Parijs, Michael Otsuka and David Ellerman root an economic egalitarianism in the classical liberal concepts of self-ownership and land appropriation, combined with geoist or physiocratic views regarding the ownership of land and natural resources (e.g. those of John Locke and Henry George). They hold that it is illegitimate for anyone to claim private ownership of natural resources to the detriment of others. Instead, unappropriated natural resources are either unowned or owned in common and private appropriation is only legitimate if everyone can appropriate an equal amount or if private appropriation is taxed to compensate those who are excluded from natural resources. Most left-libertarians support some form of income redistribution on the grounds of a claim by each individual to be entitled to an equal share of natural resources. A number of left-libertarians of this school argue for the desirability of some state social welfare programs.
The content is sourced from: https://handwiki.org/wiki/Philosophy:Left-libertarianism