The Libertarian Spectrum

Libertarianism has a complex history and contemporary culture. There are two main camps of libertarianism: Individualist, and Social/Communistic (not state communism `a la the USSR).   There are many slight variations, or tents within these camps, but they essentially fall within one of these two sets, and both camps are socialist. Right wing libertarianism is not included as one of the “camps” in the table below because capitalism, being a core component of right libertarianism, is antithetical to real libertarianism because capitalism is usury.

“The apparent contradiction between individualism and communism rests on a misunderstanding of both…Subjectivity is also objective: the individual really is subjective. It is nonsense to speak of “emphatically prioritizing the social over the individual,”…You may as well speak of prioritizing the chicken over the egg. Anarchy is a “method of individualization.” It aims to combine the greatest individual development with the greatest communal unity.” Bob Black. Nightmares of Reason.



mutualist, egoist, agorist, post-left

anarcho/libertarian-communismsyndicalist, collectivist

oppose all forms of political power, hierarchy, and domination, including the State, and capitalism

claim that the proposals of the other camp would lead to the creation of some kind of state

use rights must replace property rights in the means of life (i.e. the abolition of rent, interest and profits — “usury”)property “will lose a certain attribute which sanctifies it now. The absolute ownership of it — ‘the right to use or abuse’ — will be abolished, and possession, use, will be the only title. It will be seen how impossible it would be for one person to ‘own’ a million acres of land, without a title deed, backed by a government ready to protect the title at all hazards.”  Lucy Parsons

importance of free agreement, including collectivization or seperation

freedom thought and action to all with one exception: no one is free to be a ruler, as the act of ruling is against freedom

fear being forced to join a community and thus losing freedom (including the freedom to exchange freely with others)see community as the proprietor/owner/authority of property under communism, and capitalism is viewed similarly communal solutions to social problems and a communal visioncommunal ownership would provide the necessary framework to protect individual liberty in all aspects of life by abolishing the power of the property owner, in whatever form it takesthink the Individualist Anarchist opposition to communism is only valid for state or authoritarian communism and ignores the fundamental nature of communist-anarchismdo not replace individuality with community but rather use community to defend individuality
education, and the creation of alternative institutions, such as mutual banks, unions, communes, etc. will foster anarchism recognize the need for education, and alternatives (such as libertarian unions), but most disagree that this is enough in itself
strikes and other non-violent forms of social protest (such as rent strikes, the non-payment of taxes and so on)
primarily evolutionists, not revolutionists, and dislike social anarchists’ use of direct action to create revolutionary situations do not think capitalism can be reformed piece-by-piece into anarchy
consider revolution as being in contradiction to anarchist principles as it involves the expropriation of capitalist property, and therefore, authoritarian means do not think revolution is in contradiction with anarchist principles as it is not authoritarian to destroy authority (be it state or capitalist)
seek to return to society the wealth taken out of society by property by means of an new, alternative, system of economics (based around mutual banks and co-operatives)”social liquidation” would be rendered easy, with anarchism coming about by reform and not by expropriation expropriation of the capitalist class and the destruction of the state by social revolution is a libertarian, not authoritarian, act by its very nature as it is directed against those who govern and exploit the vast majority
prefer a market-based systema (mostly small-scale) self-employed society based on “occupancy and use,” accumulation of the produce of labor to keep it from those who may “need” it, or sell it need-based system
state created monopolies (of money, land, tariffs and patents) and state enforcement of capitalist property rights are the source of economic inequality and exploitation (market discipline for the working class, state aid for the ruling class in other words)with the abolition of government, real free trade/competition would result in the end of capitalism/exploitation variable bargaining power with “free exchange” will benefit the stronger party so markets, even a non-capitalist one, will tend to magnify inequalities of wealth and power over time rather than equalize themthe boss and landlord have authority over a given area (the property in question) and all within it (workers and tenants), just as the state rules the citizen or subject.individual ownership produces the same social relationships as that created by the state, as it comes from the same source (monopoly of power over a given area and those who use it)
the means of production (bar land) are the product of individual labour and so they accept that people should be able to sell the means of production they use, if they so desire (it can be privately owned)if one individual claims to own it and it is, in fact, used by more than that person then “occupancy and use” is violated social ownership of the means of production and distribution, with personal possessions remaining for things you use, but not what was used to create themthe idea that the means of production can be sold implies that private property could be reintroduced in an anarchist society
denies that this system of use-rights should include the product of the workers labor workers’ self-management of their work and (for most social anarchists) the free sharing of the product of that labour (i.e. an economic system without money)
workers would recieve the “full product” of their laborif an owner employs others to use the workplace then the boss can appropriate the product of the workers’ labor, so violating the maxim that labour should receive its full product it is difficult to determine the exact contribution of each worker to a product in a modern economy
workers would possess their own means of production and exchange the product of their labour freely with other workers each individual who has contributed productively to society can take what they needacknowledges the importance of individual possessions and individual space
if the means of production, say land, is not in use, it reverts back to common ownership and is available to others for use by individuals
if a workplace needs a group to operate it then it must be owned by the group who use it (the need for co-operatives to run workplaces that require more than one worker)
think socialisation would effectively eliminate workers’ control as “society” would tell workers what to produce and take the product of their labour. exploitation and authority of the boss replaced with that of “society” see fault in markets as “unsuccessful” competitors may have to sell their labor to the “successful” in order to survive, and thus create authoritarian social relationships and the domination of the few over the many via “free contracts”
see more @ “Is individualist anarchism capitalistic?”


wages should be paid for labor (generally equal wages for equal labor) wages should be abolished”Anarchist communism differed from collectivism on only one fundamental point — the way in which the product of labor should be shared. In place of the collectivist and mutualist idea of remuneration according to hours of labor, the anarchist communists proclaimed the slogan “From each according to his means, to each according to his needs” and envisaged open warehouses from which any man could have what he wanted.””[Anarchosyndicalists] shifted the basis of anarchism to the syndicates [trade unions], which they saw as organizations that united the producers in common struggle as well as in common work…When the state was paralyzed, the syndicates, which had been the organs of revolt, could be transformed into the basic units of the free society; the workers would take over the factories where they had been employees and would federate by industries.”George Woodcock (
individuals privately own their produce, having absolute
dominion over it, with no ethical obligation to share it with others
one who labors does not individually own his produce, but may only use as much as he needs, being ethically obliged to share surplus production with others who need it
“to each according to his labor.” “to each according to his needs”
Proudhon, who was influential on the Americans through Benjamin Tucker, says: “To each according to his works, first; and if, on occasion, I am impelled to aid you, I will do it with a good grace; but I will not be constrained.”
wealth distribution is more uneven as production would
vary among the individualsBenjamin Tucker explicitly supports the social equality of socialism[6], but holds that moderate wealth disparity is the natural result of liberty: “… there are people who say: ‘We will have no liberty, for we must have absolute equality. I am not of them.
If I go through life free and rich, I shall not cry because my neighbor, equally free, is richer. Liberty will ultimately make all men rich; it will not make all men equally rich. Authority may (and may not) make all men equally rich in purse; it certainly will make them equally poor in all that makes life best worth living.”
wealth would naturally be evenly distributed as it is collectively owned

Anarcho-capitalist is left out of the table above, as capitalism is not anarchist.

Anarcho-communism was not universally accepted as even being form of anarchism among the traditional labor-value individualist anarchists. For example, Benjamin Tucker referred to it as “Pseudo-anarchism” (Labor and its Pay) when admonishing Peter Kropotkin for opposing wages. Henry Appleton said: “All Communism, under whatever guise, is the natural enemy of Anarchism, and a Communist sailing under the flag of Anarchism is as false a figure as could be invented.” (Anarchism, True and False (1884)) Victor Yarros says “no logical justification, no rational explanation, and no “scientific” reasoning has been, is, will be, or can be advanced in defence of that unimaginable impossibility, Communistic Anarchism” (A Princely Paradox). Clarence Lee Swartz says, in What is Mutualism: “One of the tests of any reform movement with regard to personal liberty is this: Will the movement prohibit or abolish private property? If it does, it is an enemy of liberty. For one of the most important criteria of freedom is the right to private property in the products of ones labor. State Socialists, Communists, Syndicalists and Communist-Anarchists deny private property.”

Like David Graeber, and J. K. Gibson-Graham I think we have, and can continue to have, a mixed-economy with individulaistic and communistic elements. Graeber, citing Marcel Mauss, argues that we encounter communism in life all the time. Not only that, but “individulistic-communism.” see: “we are already communists 1 and 2“.

My own notion of politics is that it follows a straight line rather than a circle. The straight line stretches from the far right where (historically) we find monarchy, absolute dictatorships, and other forms of absolutely authoritarian rule. On the far right, law and order means the law of the ruler and the order that serves the interest of that ruler, usually the orderliness of drone workers, submissive students, elders either totally cowed into loyalty or totally indoctrinated and trained into that loyalty. Both Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler operated right-wing regimes, politically, despite the trappings of socialism with which both adorned their regimes….


The far left, as far as you can get away from the right, would logically represent the opposite tendency and, in fact, has done just that throughout history. The left has been the side of politics and economics that opposes the concentration of power and wealth and, instead, advocates and works toward the distribution of power into the maximum number of hands.


—Karl Hess, Dear America

Rothbard’s ‘Left and Right’: Forty Years Later

Libertarianism: Left or Right?

Anarchist schools of thought

Types of anarchism

Communism and individualism

The Schism Between Individualist and Communist Anarchism


Individualist Anarchism vs. Communistic Anarchism and Libertarianism

State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ


critique of ‘anarcho’-capitalism:
Is ‘anarcho’-capitalism anarchism?
Why Anarcho-Capitalism is bullshit

pro an-cap sites:
an-cap faq
an-cap reading

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