Black & Red

Libertarianism: A Socialist’s Perspective
By Kenton Merrill

We are convinced that liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; and that socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality.
-Mikhail Bakunin (1)

Before I begin to discuss what libertarianism means to me through my Libertarian Socialist lenses, I first want to start off by providing a list of definitions, so that the reader is clear as to what to expect going forward. The obvious way to begin is to start with defining libertarian socialism. Libertarian Socialism is a social system which believes in freedom of action and thought and free will, in which the producers possess both political power, and the means of producing and distributing goods. (2) The traditional definition of Socialism is worker ownership of the means of production (not just “what the government does”). Capitalism is private ownership of the means of production. It is rooted in private property; capital, or the private means of production (the words will be used in a way that is interchangeable during the course of this piece). Personal property consists of consumer and non-capital goods and services. In socialism, one can still own things, socialists are simply against private property. It is important to differentiate between private and personal property. Propertarianism is unfortunately the norm of American libertarianism. The idea of propertarianism is a right-libertarian philosophy which is rooted in advocating for the replacement of collective entities with contractual relationships. Propertarian ideals are most commonly cited to advocate for a state or other governance body whose main or only job is to enforce contracts and private property. The working class are the individuals who do not own capital. They are on the bottom of those vertical relationships. I will discuss more about the idea of a vertical vs. horizontal society later on.

Coming from the libertarian right, I always felt uncomfortable with some of the rhetoric the right would spew. People I respect but disagree with on policy, would often make claims which stated along the lines of “Libertarians don’t care about the poor!” or “Libertarians just want poor people to die.” Harsh claims, which I often ignored; however, through the years of attending various libertarian events, it often felt as though critics were right. Even with the feelings of doubt, my firm faith in what they call the “free market” kept me repeating conservative platitudes. Into the Trump era, there was a larger sense of isolation, pushing me further and further left – from the often demonization of immigrants, to the lack of empathy for the poor, calling the poor “lazy” or entitled. The bond between conservatives and right-libertarians did not make sense to me, even early on in my young libertarian life when I was a Ron Paul, Young Americans for Liberty, and Students for Liberty activist.

q1However, even as a right-wing libertarian activist, I have kept my two biggest issues consistent along the way; the issues I value most are immigration and foreign policy. These issues, I did not realize until I became left, are rooted in colonialism, racism, and, to a greater extent, profit. The libertarian-right likes to turn immigrants and people we bomb into dollar figures, while saving money is a good thing in a capitalist economy, I think that we, as libertarians, need to dig deeper. We need to do better. Yes, taxation is theft, but so is colonialism and profit. Profits are the unpaid worker wages.

All immigrants should be welcomed, yes; and too often the United States’ policies are a direct reason for refugees and victims of the imperialist empire. One of my favorite authors and critics of U.S. foreign policy is Noam Chomsky, who says that “Everyone is worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there is really an easy way. Stop participating in it.(3) But these atrocities can be directly linked to capitalism, war profit. It has been said that there will be no peace until capitalism is abolished, and I’d concur. The days of dinosaur ideas which demonize immigrants and put poor brown people in danger need to come to an end. It is time to try another way.

Mutual Aid

To me, there is no real point of liberty if the policies we advocate do not help our fellow human beings. Decentralization, civil liberties, and open borders advocates have a long history of mutual aid, and a passion for a cause bigger than oneself is what draws me to the idea of human liberty. In a word, empathy.

Peter Kropotkin developed theories of mutual aid based on the concept of the autonomous individual. Those theories emphasize an open model of voluntary cooperation in mutual aid groups, rather than induced cooperation. (4) Not surprisingly, mutual aid examples include unions and “fraternity” societies which developed during the Great Depression, and it is often thought of as the cornerstone to the self-help movement. Practices like alcohol and drug rehab, mental health help, and HIV support are areas where mutual aid practices are used. Mutual aid solidifies what it means to be truly human. When we share our resources and help the most vulnerable, we are helping not only others, but ourselves – through a greater sense of community.

In 2018, I helped found the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party (LSCLP). Currently, we are the largest caucus in the party by the measure of Facebook likes. As members, we do not believe any one person speaks for the caucus itself; we are horizontal and decentralized. Recently, the national Libertarian Party announced that it is making “There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” their theme for the 2020 convention in Austin, Texas. In response to this, the LSCLP will be handing out free food to the needy, in a showcase that direct action and mutual aid really do work. It may be true that “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”, but to me, that sounds like a greater incentive to help those who can’t afford their lunch. (At the end of this piece, I have provided the Statement of Principles of the caucus for those interested in learning more about the LSCLP.)

Communism and Anarchism

At its core, communism is anarchist. I describe communism as a philosophy which calls for the abolition of the state, capitalism, wage labor and private property, in favor of worker ownership of the means of production. Ironically, I view communists (and the left in general) to have a stronger support of the right to bear arms than the reactionary right. Karl Marx said that “under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.(5) Marx believed in an armed working class to defend itself from conditions that would transmit inequality. An armed working class makes for a more horizontal world, not the control which neoliberals desire and leftist are more pro gun than the modern republican who under Trump has done more to dismantle gun rights than Democrats did at any point during the Obama era.

q2The U.S. is so far to the right that Bernie Sanders is considered a radical leftist by many. But folks like Bernie are still capitalist; they do not advocate for changing the system; rather, they advocate working within that same capitalist system to meet their goals. Throughout most of the world, libertarianism is leftist and the word left has a different meaning than it does in the States. Leftists historically believe in an armed working class and direct action above political action. What we often call leftists in the U.S. are often really just neoliberal reactionaries, who very rarely have sound, principled policies.

Most libertarians probably do not realize that the English word “libertarian” (libertaire in French) was originally popularized by French Anarcho-Communist Jacques Élisée Reclus in his 1896 work L’anarchie but can be traced even earlier in Reclus’ letter to P.J. Proudhon, who was an anarchist in the Mutualist school of thought. The word soon after, became synonymous with Anarcho-Communism and later used Libertarian Socialists to emphasize that we stand for liberty and equality alike. Clearly, this comes from a deeply left-wing culture that existed in France at that time since the French Revolution, like the famous slogan “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” (“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). (6)

Libertarianism is Not Capitalist

Libertarianism is not about the privileges of riches, property ownership, or the fetish of consumption as seen in the modern American economy, but an idea of humanity first. I believe in liberty for all – that includes the poor, the disenfranchised and the those whom society looks down upon. American libertarianism is unique in that it is obsessed with right-wing propertarianism. This obsession has been a detriment of the ideas of liberty. We need more individuals in the liberty movement who have a sense of solidarity, community, and empowerment for the working class.

Libertarianism has historically always stood for liberty, equality, solidarity, until it was appropriated by the right in the U.S. Individuals like Mises, Rothbard, Ayn Rand, Reagan all contributed to pushing the ideas of liberty, and the political arena in the U.S., further and further right. In fact, Murray Rothbard bragged about stealing the word libertarian from the left when he said, “One gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy . . . ‘Libertarians’ . . . had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over…(7) These people stand for prosperity, not anything that remotely comes close to liberty for all. As a libertarian, I use the traditional meaning of the word.

As Libertarian-Socialists, we have the belief system that is essentially one in which a socialist economy develops naturally through class consciousness and without regulation or government force imposing a socialist economy. Our view is that capitalism is being imposed on the population because governmental policies (enforcement of private property) and the government stepping back would allow socialism to form naturally. Abolishing the state rids ourselves of private property protections which capitalism imposes.

Liberty goes beyond a non-agression principle – liberty encompasses a non-exploitation principle. It means that liberty transcends our current capitalistic system into a system that benefits all, not just those with the capital. In order to join the LSCLP, one must agree to the Non-Exploitation pledge. This pledge states that “I certify that I oppose all forms of aggression, exploitation, and hierarchical relations of domination to achieve economic goals.

automation
Automation could be a goal, rather than a fear. If society wasn’t fixated on capitalism and consumerism, the Lib-Soc view is favorable to the automation of menial labor. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Among other things, liberty means automation is a good thing; once we put the factories into the hands of the workers, instead of automation meaning their survival and livelihood is in question, it suddenly means more time off; time spent with family, friends – relationships blossoming, goals made, and natural interests tended to; it means that capitalistic red tape will become a thing of the past.

Imagine a world where one can spend time doing what they love, no matter their financial situation. A world that gives power to the individual. This is true empowerment, the total opposite of capitalism. It is often said by right-wing apologists of capitalism that capitalism is the so-called “natural way of doing things” – I would argue that there is nothing natural about the poisonous greed of capitalism. The idea of the economy itself is man-made. Truth be told, it is not a spontaneous force of nature rather an invented idea. As we progress as human beings, we can change ideas. It is rather senseless to elevate the ideas of capitalism above humanity.

q3Liberty with solidarity is horizontal. Many of my fellow libertarian socialists say they do not believe in charity, we believe in solidarity. Charity enables us to look down upon our fellow human beings; it gives a sense of handouts and hierarchy, but solidarity equates to being one with our fellow human beings. It serves as a great sense of humanity, which I feel we have often lost in our material, capitalistic society where our lives become consume, produce, rinse and repeat. Through mutual aid and a horizontal world, our lives are more enriched.

Essentially, “mutual aid society” is a neutral umbrella term for any association of people that – autonomously of other social institutions – create their own system of mutual support based on some material needs, be it health care, food, housing, safety, and so on. These could historically be centered around immigrant communities, or based on geographical or workplace affinity. So it is not a totally isolated society, like some of the utopian socialist villages for instance, but part of a larger society.

Types of Libertarian Socialism

Socialism is a system that deals with the economics in human relations, not the relationship between man and the state. The state can be massive or nonexistent or somewhere in between in a socialist society. In a capitalist society however, a state is required to enforce private property.

There are many flavors of anarchist socialism and state socialism alike – the types I will be discussing are the anarchist flavors, which include mutualism, communism, and syndicalism.

Mutualism

Mutualism is a theory largely associated to Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. In his writing What is Property?, Proudhon argued that “all capital, whether material or mental, being the result of collective labor, is, in consequence, collective property.” Mutualists believe that a free market would open up equality for all. They argue that when we abolish the state, private property ceases to exists, and in turn, so do monopolies. The LSCLP is generally mutualist; though, of course, the caucus has a wide spectrum of views.

Anarcho-Communism

Anarcho-Communism is an idea of horizontal associations. It emphasizes automation, abolition of wage labor, advocating for workers councils with the guiding principle of “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” Right-wing libertarians love to talk about whether something is truly voluntary but An-Coms actually walk the walk. They believe in a free and voluntary society, not just in terms of our relations with the state but also in terms of our relationship with the economy. Capitalism is not voluntary. Not on any level. The choice it brings to the table is between poverty, starvation, and death or selling ones basic labor for needs. Through the owning of land, private property, the capitalist leeches off the working class, in turn making himself the middle man between basic survival and freedom. In essence, there is little difference between this concept of capitalist hierarchy and the serfdom of a feudal society.

Anarcho-Syndicalism

Anarcho-Syndicalism has been associated often with Noam Chomsky and is focused largely on the labor movement. Syndicalists believe that unions have the power to bring upon revolutionary change. The basic principles of this movement resides in solidarity and direct action. The idea of worker solidarity is that all workers – no matter the age, race, gender, creed, or ethnic group – are in a common situation with relation to their boss; this is known as class consciousness to many anarchists, but has been popularized by the syndicalists movement, in particular. They believe that the idea of bosses should be abolished, and in turn, all workers should make direct decisions in order to form a democratic workplace. The IWA (International Workers Association) is an international syndicalist group with the interest of achieving these goals. The group is a federation of unions from various countries. In that sense, syndicalist unions, lifeboat associations, healthcare schemes in present day Greece, the French Bourse du Travail in the late 1800s, or the local barrio defense and supplies committees in 1936 Barcelona are all examples of these societies.

It was Benjamin Tucker in his piece Socialism: What It Is (8) who said:

tucker01
Benjamin Tucker (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Socialism… is… the recognition of the great truth that Liberty and Equality, through the law of Solidarity, will cause the welfare of each to contribute to the welfare of all… Today… society is fundamentally anti social. The whole so-called social fabrice rests on privilege and power, and is disordered and strained in every direction by the inequalities that necessarily result therefrom… Socialism says that what’s one man’s meat must no longer be another’s poison; that no man shall be able to add to his riches except by labor; that in adding to his riches by labor alone no man makes another man poorer; that on the contrary every man thus adding to his riches makes every other man richer; that increase and concentration of wealth through labor…, increase of capital in the hands of the laborer tends, in the absence of legal monopoly, to… the physical, mental, and moral perfecting of mankind, and the realization of human fraternity… The man who subscribes to that… however bitterly he may attack the thing which he mistakes for Socialism, is himself a Socialist; and the man who subscribes to its opposite and acts upon its opposite, however benevolent he may be, however pious he may be… is not a Socialist, but a Thief… Socialism… is… the great Anti-Theft Movement of the nineteenth century… Thou shalt not steal! That commandment is Socialism’s flag. Only not as a commandment, but as a law of nature. Socialism does not order; it prophecies… It says: When all men have Liberty, thou wilt not steal…

A large number of people, who see the evils of usury and are desirous of destroying them, foolishly imagine they can do so by authority, and accordingly are trying to abolish privilege by centring all production and activity in the State to the destruction of competition and its blessings, to the degradation of the individual, and to the putrefaction of Society. They are well-meaning but misguided… Other people, who have not yet seen the evils of usury and do not know that Liberty will destroy them, but nevertheless earnestly believe in Liberty for Liberty’s sake, are led to mistake this effort to make the State the be-all and end-all of society… and, rightly horrified… But the very reasonable and just criticisms of… State Socialism, when analyzed, are found to be directed, not against the Socialism, but against the State… Liberty insists on Socialism, nevertheless, – on true Socialism, Anarchistic Socialism: the prevalence on earth of Liberty, Equality, and Solidarity.

Clearly, Libertarian Socialism isn’t statist socialism nor is it an oxymoron, rather it is the original anarchist movement with a rich tradition.

Living Conditions

The U.S. has 6 empty houses to every homeless person. (9) Homelessness is massive issue and can be wholly attributed to capitalism. Though housing is necessary for security, emotional well-being, identity, and overall basic survival, I believe there is no greater condemnation of the capitalistic society than two things: its denial of housing and the excess of food, while millions remain homeless and hungry. The capitalist class always blame the victims, yet private property rights seem to matter more than human rights. The fear of homelessness helps capitalism maintain its power. During the time of industrial capitalism, the unemployed were used by the ruling class to signal to the workers that they were lucky to have their jobs, and if they rebelled, they could be unemployed. Since then, after the 2007-2008 recession, as we move along further into post-industrial capitalism, the homeless are a warning to those potentially rebellious workers not satisfied with the status quo with their loss of wages, lack of stability and benefits, and to students of my generation, we are often called the zero generation: zero hope, zero jobs, zero possibilities, zero employment, who are in debt for their schooling.

q4The message is to accept the declining status quo or end up homeless. Houses should be built for people to live in, not to remain empty. (10) I am not saying the solution should come directly from the state, however, I am saying that capitalism is a failure in yet another area of our lives. Black Lives Matter in Louisville has recently started helping families get into low income housing. This is a wonderful example of direct action and mutual aid.

Vacant_houses_in_Antwerpen_2
Over eighteen million homes sit vacant in the United States alone, more than enough to house every homeless American multiple times. (Photo by Mark Ahsman, from Wikimedia Commons)

Martin Luther King, Jr., in his speech to Southern Christian Leadership Conference Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967 said that “Capitalism forgets that life is social. . . I dream of a world without the isolation of capitalism. A world where my fellow human beings can be who they are, and do the things they love.

Health care is another exception where I as a libertarian step aside my fellow libertarians and endorse Medicare for All. We have all heard the argument that the U.S. is the only modern developed country without healthcare for its citizens, but recently a think tank connected to the Koch Brothers themselves even did a study to attempt to disprove the costs of Medicare for All, and they found that the costs are cheaper than what we are paying into the system now. This study was published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. (11) Is this solution ideal? Not at all. However, pragmatically, it is miles better than individuals being bankrupt due to our immoral healthcare system which has left the poor to die.

Propertarianism vs. Libertarianism

The reason why Propertarianism is not Libertarianism is because the propertarians frankly, advocate for exploitation, authority, subjugation, domination, and tyranny. I know right libertarians disagree, find it appalling and outright untrue, but it’s the truth: the right advocates for an authoritarian system of hierarchical domination. Call it Capitalism, private property, or propertarianism, there is no liberty in the status quo – unless, of course you own the means of production. Otherwise, you are a wage slave.

In Capitalism, individuals work in companies which I call private tyrannies, the boss gives the orders which generally must be followed unconditionally or the employee is dismissed. This is despotism, which Merriam-Webster calls “The exercise of absolute power, especially in a cruel and oppressive way.” So, a boss is exploiting their workers, who are selling themselves out to obey commands of an authority, just to have food on the table. Where is the Liberty in such a situation?

A corporation is a hierarchical chain of domination, where the commands come from above and are handed down below, from the CEO to the mid managers, to the lowest tier employee, while the wages grow as you move up the ladder of authority, the working conditions shrink as you go down in it.

It’s an authoritarian system of domination, where your boss has near complete control over the lives of their employees, the boss decides how many sick days you are allotted, how much you can sleep or rest, he decides when you can take a lunch and eat or go to the toilet, he decides when you will have a holiday if you want to go to a vacation with your family, he decides whether he will give you a day off so that you can see your kid’s recital, and more recently, in a rather intrusive trend, they can even spy on your social media posts and if you criticize them on Twitter for example, you can get let go.

Kim Stanley Robinson summed it up well when he said “If democracy and self-rule are the fundamentals, then why should people give up these rights when they enter their workplace? In politics we fight like tigers for freedom, for the right to elect our leaders, for freedom of movement, choice of residence, choice of what work to pursue – control of our lives, in short. And then we wake up in the morning and go to work, and all of those rights disappear. We no longer insist on them. And so for most of the day we return to feudalism. That is what capitalism is – a version of feudalism in which capital replaces land, and business leaders replace kings. But the hierarchy remains. And so we still hand over our lives’ labor, under duress, to feed rulers who do no real work.(12)

Essentially, as an employee, you are a servant to your master. And that is what Capitalism is. Albeit, there are various degrees to the servitude but when we peel back the layers, capitalism is exposed. The layers of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, and racism are ideas which often are not seen at the surface, but once pulled back, are exposed for what they represent.

q5There is no real liberty in Capitalism, so let us stop pretending that the capitalists stand for liberty. Support of homosexual marriage or drug legalization, pales in comparison to the support of the neoliberal policies of Capitalism.

If a society has hierarchy, domination, and exploitation, then that is not Liberty. Liberty is the exact opposite: horizontality and equality, that is what Libertarian Socialism is about.

To conclusion, liberty for me as a socialist is about empathy, inclusion, equality and solidarity. The idea of Liberty in the U.S. has been hijacked by the right, over the course of the past 50+ years; however, this is our opportunity to take it back. In the era of Trumpism, I want to see dignity. In a time of inequality, I want to see hope for the poor and the down-ridden. In times of war profiting, may there be an urgency for peace. Let us remove the bigoted barriers of movement. Let us open our hearts and minds and may empathy win.

If you’re interested in joining the LSCLP, check out our Facebook discussion group.


Kenton Merrill is a founding member of the LSCLP and a member of the Green County, MO Libertarian Party.

Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party:
Statement of Principles

We, the members of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party, join our voices with libertarians everywhere to resist the authoritarian state and its politically privileged, ruling class. We hold that every human being on this planet deserves respect for their autonomous choice to live a life that is fully self-determined, and reject the idea that coercive systems of domination have any place in the lives of a voluntary, open society of equals.

We emphatically reject that exploitation, oppression, and hierarchies of domination are voluntary or without aggression, and in seeking the radical goal of complete and equal liberty – the full autonomy and self determination of all people, we hold that hierarchies must neither exploit nor dominate other human beings. As libertarian socialists, we envision society as universalized mutuality, and as maximal, consensually-sustained social experimentation. We concur that “imposed communism would be the most detestable tyranny that the human mind could conceive, and free and voluntary communism is ironical if one has not the right and the possibility to live in a different regime, collectivist, mutualist, individualist – as one wishes, always on condition that there is no oppression or exploitation of others.” As such we reject all state secured privileges and monopolies, all totalizing visions, and all imposed, absentee, hierarchical, central planning by the state, state capitalism, and its politically connected ruling class of politicians, lobbyists, bureaucrats, bankers, corporations, CEOs, and their violent enforcers, of our lives, the economy, and the means to human flourishing and productivity.

In its place we seek radical decentralization of the economy, and the complete flourishing of freely associated, directly accountable relationships and institutions that maximize individual autonomy, and full control by individuals over their own lives and over the things which directly affect them. Libertarian socialists will often support a diversity of voluntary mutual associations such as worker managed coops, mutual banks, informal peer to peer networks, artisan self employment, non exploitative markets, barter, communes, and gift economies. We reject attempts to do away with the violent state’s “crutches” for the most marginalized and at-risk among us, while still maintaining its “teeth”, and we seek abolition now of its most violent and oppressive elements. We ask the coercive state and its ruling class to stand down and allow for people to, in mutuality and solidarity, take direct action to improve their own lives and the lives of their neighbors, for “we do not wish to liberate the people, we wish for the people to liberate themselves”.

We, the members of the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party, join our voices with libertarians everywhere to resist the authoritarian state and its politically privileged, ruling class. We hold that every human being on this planet deserves respect for their autonomous choice to live a life that is fully self-determined, and reject the idea that coercive systems of domination have any place in the lives of a voluntary, open society of equals.

We emphatically reject that exploitation, oppression, and hierarchies of domination are voluntary or without aggression, and in seeking the radical goal of complete and equal liberty – the full autonomy and self determination of all people, we hold that hierarchies must neither exploit nor dominate other human beings. As libertarian socialists, we envision society as universalized mutuality, and as maximal, consensually-sustained social experimentation. We concur that “imposed communism would be the most detestable tyranny that the human mind could conceive, and free and voluntary communism is ironical if one has not the right and the possibility to live in a different regime, collectivist, mutualist, individualist – as one wishes, always on condition that there is no oppression or exploitation of others.” As such we reject all state secured privileges and monopolies, all totalizing visions, and all imposed, absentee, hierarchical, central planning by the state, state capitalism, and its politically connected ruling class of politicians, lobbyists, bureaucrats, bankers, corporations, CEOs, and their violent enforcers, of our lives, the economy, and the means to human flourishing and productivity.

In its place we seek radical decentralization of the economy, and the complete flourishing of freely associated, directly accountable relationships and institutions that maximize individual autonomy, and full control by individuals over their own lives and over the things which directly affect them. Libertarian socialists will often support a diversity of voluntary mutual associations such as worker managed coops, mutual banks, informal peer to peer networks, artisan self employment, non exploitative markets, barter, communes, and gift economies. We reject attempts to do away with the violent state’s “crutches” for the most marginalized and at-risk among us, while still maintaining its “teeth”, and we seek abolition now of its most violent and oppressive elements. We ask the coercive state and its ruling class to stand down and allow for people to, in mutuality and solidarity, take direct action to improve their own lives and the lives of their neighbors, for “we do not wish to liberate the people, we wish for the people to liberate themselves”.

 

6 thoughts on “Black & Red

  1. I very much enjoyed this piece. I come to libertarian socialism from the left side but we draw many of the same conclusions. You should check out my blog: http://www.charlesmrupert.com where I point out some particularly thorny philosophical issues for right-wing libertarianism and develop a simple and practical model of libertarian socialism. I would like to get your feedback if you’re interested.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed Kenton’s article, Charles. I always find it refreshing to see libertarian views outside of the mainstream, capitalist-orientated lane.

      If you ever want to submit an original piece, or aomething you’ve already written to the WAL Reader, feel free too.

      Like

  2. //The traditional definition of Socialism is worker ownership of the means of production (not just “what the government does”)//

    I am put off by the insinuation that workers and private owners are two inately different classes of people without overlap. Which, if we assume that is true (it isnt but just play along), then worker ownership of the means of production is impossible, as they would immediately stop being workers and start being private owners.

    /Propertarian ideals are most commonly cited to advocate for a state or other governance body whose main or only job is to enforce contracts and private property.//

    First, you are conflating “governance” with the state. One can have governance without government. It is not the state if I expel a thief from my property.

    //The working class are the individuals who do not own capital.//

    Funny. I have a computer I use for a side business, this computer is capital and I also am in the working class.

    //Personal property consists of consumer and non-capital goods and services.//

    The factor determining whether a good is capital is the owner’s purpose for it, not the main purpose it’s suited for or what most people use it for and certainly not whether consumers buy it (everyone is a consumer). If I bought a computer to play video games, then *that* computer is a consumer good. If I’m a programmer and it’s primarily the tool I use to ply my trade, it’s (primarily) a capital good.

    But oh look it just got complicated, because I’m a programmer and I also get on Facebook – I use it to build things *and* to enjoy myself. So by virtue of its great versatility, at least my laptop is both of those things (personal and private). I have another computer that strictly does cryptocurrency stuff and, in my hands, is purely a capital good, even though its hardware would make it an excellent gaming rig.

    No difference between the two.

    That is just the first couple of paragraphs.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: