Reader Sunflame asks my opinion about the Wikipedia article on Libertarian Socialism. It's a long article, and will probably require following a few levels of links, so I'll have to give the article a close reading and careful analysis before I can respond in depth. A superficial reading, however, reveals a few questions.
I'm all for socialism, so the issue turns specifically on the libertarian component of the definition. It seems (again, at first glance) that libertarianism here means fundamentally that there should be no state. Now, when I hear "state", I interpret it to mean, "the sovereign organization which holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence within a well-defined territory." A broader sense of state would remove the "within a well-defined territory" condition. It is important to understand that this definition of "state" does not talk about how the organization is constituted.
Is this the sense of "state" that anarchists mean, and if so, in which sense, the narrower the broader? Are we talking about whether there should be a state in this sense, or about how to constitute a state?
The "democracies" of today's world are all republics: In a "true" democracy, the people rule; in a republic, the people choose their rulers. Does libertarianism advocate for a truly democratic state: an organization with a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence which operates in some truly democratic manner?
I hesitate to call myself an "anarchist" for the same reasons I prefer not to call myself a "socialist" (even "communist" suffers from the same flaws; I choose "communism" as the least bad option.) Regardless, I am all in favor of true democracy, and I want to figure out how to implement truly democratic political systems in the real world. Is all that stands between me and the anarchists merely a label of self-identification?