A question for Libertarian Socialists.

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RayApparently
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I won't pretend to be an expert on the philosophies of Libertarian Socialism but after reading a simple description I was left wondering: Isn't a world without government, just a world run by businesses? Doesn't sound very socialist to me. Of course I'm sure I'm missing something and that the LS crew have a picturesque alternate vision of the world but I can't imagine what we'd do without some kind of government. Is pluralist, democratically elected government not the guardian of the people? The upholder of law and equality?


Please tell me what you think.
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Greenlaner
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(Original post by RayApparently)
I won't pretend to be an expert on the philosophies of Libertarian Socialism but after reading a simple description I was left wondering: Isn't a world without government, just a world run by businesses? Doesn't sound very socialist to me. Of course I'm sure I'm missing something and that the LS crew have a picturesque alternate vision of the world but I can't imagine what we'd do without some kind of government. Is pluralist, democratically elected government not the guardian of the people? The upholder of law and equality?


Please tell me what you think.
In a libertarian/anarchist society, people would still be free to employ some form of governing body if they want, so long as it doesn't violate the non-aggression principle and initiate force or violence against people to achieve it's aims.

Though I must admit I don't have a huge understanding of libertarian socialism (I lean more towards free-market anarchy myself), so I can't comment specifically on the ideology.
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anarchism101
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Well, I think an important thing to understand is that the state is not so much a clearly identifiable organisation as an activity, an aspect of particular social systems. To paraphrase Bob Black, it's not merely a tumour that can be cut out; instead a new social system must be built to replace it.

To put it another way, workers' seizure of their workplaces for self-management in revolution would, in itself, be a significant destruction of state authority.
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Pee jay
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Isn't a world without government, just a world run by businesses?

I think a 'libertarian socialist' would say that firms themselves would be run by workers. So a world run by businesses would be a world run by workers.
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JohnPaul_
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(Original post by Pee jay)
Isn't a world without government, just a world run by businesses?

I think a 'libertarian socialist' would say that firms themselves would be run by workers. So a world run by businesses would be a world run by workers.
Is this what 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' means?


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Pee jay
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(Original post by JohnPaul_)
Is this what 'Dictatorship of the Proletariat' means?


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I'm no expert but this is my vague understanding of the topic.

Marxists hold that capitalism is a stage of society that is brought about by industrialisation. Industrialisation creates two social classes which are necessary in conflict, the bourgeoisie and the workers. The state is an instrument through which capitalists exploit workers. As the tendency of capitalism (it is argued) is to concentrate wealth in a small number of hands and to exploit the workers ever more, it 'sows the seeds of its own destruction' by making revolution inevitable. The stage immediately following the revolution is the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' or socialism, in which the state seizes the means of production, thereby consolidating the revolution. This phase is characterised by one party rule, that of the socialist or vanguard party representing the workers, and the dismantlement of the capitalist mode of production and a cultural and intellectual rebirth essential to creating the conditions for the next stage. Here, the state ceases to be an instrument of exploitation and eventually becomes unnecessary, at which point the final stage of society is achieved, communism. Communism meaning a stateless society in which workers own and run their factories and presumably collaborate instead of competing.

There are many variations upon this in Marxist literature, the most famous variant being Marxist-Leninism which applies Marx to the conditions of Imperial Russia, which had not yet achieved industrialisation. Marx said that the most industrialised countries would be those where the conditions for revolution would be most favourable and expected the revolution to come in Germany or something like that.

The debate between Marxists and other Anarchists (of which libertarian socialists are a subset) is that the latter hold that those in power during the transitional period of dictatorship of the proletariat are unlikely to yield it, thereby making it permanent. This is what happened, for example, in the Soviet Union. The state must therefore be abolished and not captured.

I hope that makes it a bit clearer. Feel free to post any queries or corrections.

Edit:
Here's an article by Bakunin (probably the most important Anarchist thinker) elaborating his critique of the Marxist theory of the state: http://www.marxists.org/reference/ar...sm-anarchy.htm
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