Libertarian socialism originates from groups during the Russian revolution who resisted the forces of authority both from the Red and white factions in the Ukraine form 1917 to 1921. In this sense, they saw the need for revolution but were in favour of the creation of a new society along democratic and non-hierarchical lines. To quote the Organisational Platform of Libertarian Communists, produced by participants in the Makhnovist movement.
‘Libertarian Communism does not derive abstract reflections of an intellectual or a philosopher, but from the direct struggle of workers against capitalism, from the needs and necessities of the workers, from their aspirations to liberty and equality, aspirations which become particularly alive in the best heroic period of the life and struggle of the working masses’
So unlike Marxist-Leninism, Conservativism and nationalism that were created in the struggle of individuals for power, Libertarian Socialism was created in the struggle of the oppressed for freedom. For a particularly renowned Libertarian Socialist thinker: Proudhon, the proof of his ideals lay in the creation of Labour unions in Paris and Lyon throughout the mid-18th century. Indeed, as historian Steven Vincent has argued there was a close similarity between the ideas of Proudhon and the beliefs and practices of those same Lyon silk workers.
Thus, though it produced a number of philosophers who discussed its ideology, it was not created from philosophers in ivory towers looking down on society and judging what they saw to be write or wrong. It was created in the ideas and actions of oppressed peoples. Therefore, it was given birth to the same critical and revolutionary protest that gave birth to socialism in the broader sense.
While the term Libertarian Socialism itself was born with the rise of capitalism and communism as the major players in global politics, you only have to look throughout history to see the origins of those ideas before they were given a name. In Mutual aid, Kropotkin analyzed the Libertarian Socialist tendencies of different societies.
“From the remotest, stone-age antiquity, men [and women] have realized the evils that resulted from letting some of them acquire personal authority... Consequently they developed in the primitive clan, the village community, the medieval guild ... and finally in the free medieval city, such institutions as enabled them to resist the encroachments upon their life and fortunes both of those strangers who conquered them, and those clansmen of their own who endeavored to establish their personal authority.”
Thus, the struggles of working class people from which modern Libertarian Socialism gave birth, is comparable to those older forms of popular organization. While as a political theory, it is an expression of working class people against Oppression, violence and injustice the ideas have continually expressed themselves throughout human existence. Many indigonous people practiced non-hierarchical societies for thousands of years. Similarly, Libertarian Socialist tendencies have existed throughout human history. The New England Town meetings during the American Revolution, the Parisian ‘Sections’ during the French revolution, the workers councils and factory committees during the Russian Revolution to name but a few.
In other words, Libertarian Socialism is an expression of the struggle against oppression and exploitation, an analysis of what is wrong with the current system and proposal for a better way of doing things. The ideas existed a long time before the term Libertarian Socialism was invented, showing that our beliefs and practices persist throughout history.