"We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race and sex, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo. We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships. We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision, for building a majority movement that will make democratic socialism a reality in America."
- Democratic Socialists of America Constitution, Article II
Who We Are
The Libertarian Socialist Caucus is an organization of members of the Democratic Socialists of America who believe that libertarian socialist values are the fullest embodiment of this democratic socialist vision. We cherish the DSA’s status as a multi-tendency mass socialist organization and wish to create a space within the DSA to discuss and organize for the development of socialism beyond the state.
We take libertarian socialism to encompass those parts of the socialist movement (including syndicalists, council communists, anarchists, cooperativists, and municipalists, among many others) which have historically seen the surest path to socialism as residing in the creation of independent institutions in civil society that give the working class and ordinary people direct power over their lives.
We believe in the socialist principles of common ownership and that worker control over workplaces can only be advanced through the creation and support of worker-owned firms, radical trade unions, workers’ and neighborhood councils, popular assemblies, credit unions and alternative banking systems, community land trusts, and other directly democratic non-state institutions. The power of socialist parties and socialist governments should be subordinate to these more decentralized grassroots formations.
The Libertarian Socialist Caucus operates on three shared principles we see as inseparable from libertarian socialism:
FREEDOM refers to the positive capacity of all individuals and communities for self-determination. We believe that the freedom enjoyed by individuals is an inalienable social good and can only be strengthened through solidarity and democracy.
SOLIDARITY refers to the understanding that all oppressed people—both the economically exploited and the politically marginalized—share a common struggle towards a free and equal society. We aim to organize our movements accordingly, providing mutual aid and support to one another and deferring to the initiative of those most affected by decisions, on the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all.
DEMOCRACY refers to collective decision-making free from hierarchy, domination, and coercion. Democracy is a social relation between free individuals that should not be reduced solely to institutions or elections. We believe that democracy is always a “work in progress” to be altered or improved by communities according to their needs.
In accordance with these three fundamental values, the Libertarian Socialist Caucus is suspicious of centralized forms of governance and decision making processes that undermine freedom, solidarity, and democracy. Instead, we wish to promote the ability of individuals and communities to set their own priorities, both inside and outside the DSA. Governing authority is illegitimate in itself and can only be justified if it is delegated by and subordinated to a democratic assembly. It is our belief that all political institutions must be held to the highest standards of accountability, transparency, and direct-democratic recall. We believe this vision can only be realized through the abolition of classes, common ownership of the means of production, and its democratic management to meet the needs of all.
Our particular vision of a libertarian socialist society—and the specific path we intend to take to get there—will emerge out of the discussions and activities of the LSC itself. We believe radical democracy is an ongoing participatory process of deliberation, renegotiation, and collective self-determination. It is for the people themselves to decide what the world they wish to live in is to be. Our inability to describe the precise contours of the liberated society is rooted in the simple fact that democracy is inherently a work in progress, continually created and recreated by its participants.
In short, wherever domination exists—of bosses over workers, of men over women and gender nonconformists, of states over subjects, of whites over people of color, of human society over the rest of the web of life—we seek to replace it with equality, cooperation, love, and mutual respect. Ours is a vision of total liberation, not just in some far-flung revolutionary future but here and now.
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