The Libertarian Impulse

Newman, Saul, ed. 2010. The Libertarian Impulse, Journal of Political Ideologies, . 1356-9317 [Edited Journal]

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Abstract or Description

In the wake of the collapse of Marxism, the unseemly demise of social democracy and the increasingly illiberal nature of so-called liberal societies, questions are now being raised about the future direction of radical politics. Amidst a certain disengagement from mainstream political parties, and a crisis of legitimacy in the established political order, there has emerged a renewed interest in more libertarian forms of politics, where the focus is on the desire for autonomy and the development of alternative political, social and economic practices. Indeed, many have commented on the anarchist orientation of many forms of radical politics today – from the insurrections in Greece in early 2009, to the decentralised and networked nature of activist groups associated with the alter-globalisation movement. These movements and practices – which emphasise non-authoritarian decision-making, direct action and participatory democracy – have transformed the way we think about politics, pointing to the emergence of a politicised and transnational civil society, as well to the need to think of new categories of radical political organisation, identification and action.

Such developments demand that renewed attention be paid to libertarian traditions of political thought. Libertarianism is not a unified ideology, but rather a heterodox and diffuse ensemble of ideas and theories which are nevertheless united around what might be called the libertarian impulse – the ethical and political injunction of anti-authoritarianism, a conviction about the moral inadmissibility of state coercion, and the general idea that the less life is governed the better. Here we take a broader conception of libertarianism which includes more than simply anarchism: anarchism is only one form of libertarianism, and here we also point to left libertarianism, autonomist and heretical Marxisms, and certain forms of utopian socialism.

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Edited Journal

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Date Deposited:

09 Sep 2010 14:49

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 12:21


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