An Intro to Libertarian Socialism

Civilisation today faces three major challenges to its decent survival. These are problems which everyone is aware of but which few people rarely consider the full causes and effects of. It is this that makes them all the more potentially catastrophic.  These challenges are.
 
1) Destruction of the planets ecological systems which we all depend on to survive. 
2) The proliferation of weaponry, particularly Weapons of Mass Destruction
3) Social Breakdown. This refers in particular to the rise of rise in Homelessness, Social Isolation, dehumanisation and the destruction of structures of mutual aid.
The mainstream view of these problems, including the views of most politicians and most of those in the mainstream media is that each of them are separate, each with their own causes and that it is therefore possible to deal with these problems in isolation from one another. This immature attitude is what drives a lot of the decision making processes of the powerful. Instead of trying to deal with the root cause of the problems we face, we mindlessly make laws just to deal with the symptoms. Take, just as one example, the issue of gun control: while it would be nice for America to be a society with less guns, this does not address the bigotries and prejudices inherent in American institutions that have contributed to the rise in gun violence. Or the issue of environmental damage, sure we encourage companies to have CO2 limits, but to question the mass production of products for profit that is causing so much of the pollution is to take a step too far in the wrong direction. Or the issue of nuclear weapons, we never consider that those companies who sell the nuclear weapons have a vested interest in keeping the world at war, and that this might be why so many nations are unwilling to take serious steps to disarmament.
 Everywhere we look we see the root causes of problems constantly refused to be questioned, because doing so would involve questioning the economic and political systems that give wealth and power to the few at the expense of the vast majority of ordinary people. This ‘common sense’ approach is clearly not working, as all these problems are continuing, day upon day, to get worse and worse. Unless some better approach is taken soon we are headed for catastrophe, either from catastrophic war, ecological Armageddon, tribal savagery or all three. 
Libertarian Socialism intends to get to the root cause of these problems. We are not afraid to look at how problems systemic in the polical or economic systems of both capitalist and communist societies have helped to cause many of the evils we face today. It intends to show how authority, exercised unjustly as it so often is, negatively affects individuals, their society and culture. This isn’t something we can just brush aside. Hierarchy is present in nearly all of our institutions, we cannot afford to have it exercised for selfish or corrupt reasons.
It should not be thought however, that Libertarian Socialism is a critique of modern civilisation, because it is so much more than that. It welcomes reforms and changes, but it is also an idea for building a better society. A society where the potential for individuals is realised but not at the expense of others.  Instead of having top down networks hold too tight a grip over society, we argue for more of the decision making process over our wellbeing and economic concerns to be put more in the hands of networks of ordinary people. We realise humans are at their best when working together and deciding things themselves, instead of being in a constant state of competition. 
Libertarian Socialists differ in the extent to which they think this is possible or their theory of how such a society would work. This is because Libertarian Socialism is an idea, not a dogma. It may be a body of ideas but those ideas are open to changes in light of new information. For some, Libertarian Socialism may be about promoting cooperative enterprise, for others it may be about emancipating women or minorities, it’s really up to the individual.  Many ideas, religious or political follow a static path. Whether it is Leninism or Objectivism, Many ideas argue for the denial of hard evidence so that belief can be preserved. As people who believe in democracy and freedom it would not make sense for a particular Libertarian Socialist to lean down from on high and impose a set of rules on all people who choose the title.
In producing this ‘A Guide to…’ On Libertarian Socialism, I am not trying to give you the ‘correct’ answers. I will explain a bit about what Libertarian Socialism has meant to others in the past, and about the basic principles and core beliefs, but I aim to provoke thought and analysis on your part. If you are just looking for a new rule book then sorry, you have come to the wrong place. As Mikhail Bakunin says in his book titled ‘I couldn’t paint golden angels’
“A person is strong only when he stands upon his own truth, when he speaks and acts from his deepest convictions. Then, whatever the situation he may be in, he always knows what he must say and do. He may fall, but he cannot bring shame upon himself or his causes.”  
All that said, this guide is obviously not the ‘be all and end all’ on Libertarian Socialism. If you identify as a Libertarian Socialist, you might disagree with a lot of what I have said about it, but this is to be expected when people think critically. All I want to do is to make sure those who read this have learnt something by the time it is finished. I am sure however that all Libertarian Socialist will agree with the underlying ideas I present, even if they may disagree with my application of them here and there.

A) What Is Libertarian Socialism?

A.1 What Does Libertarian socialism mean?

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