The basic philosophy of libertarian socialism is summed up in the name: adherents believe that management of the common good (socialism) is necessary, but that this should be done in a manner that preserves individual liberty and avoids concentration of power or authority (libertarianism). Some libertarian socialists say individual liberty and societal harmony are necessarily antagonistic, and anarchist philosophy must balance the two. Others feel that the two are symbiotic, and that the liberty of the individual guarantees the harmony of the society and vice-versa.
All the critiques that anarchists develop are based on principles of decentralization of power and authority. So, while anarchists have a critique of capitalism similar to Marxism, the basis for opposition to capitalism is that it leads to concentration of power (in the form of wealth). This critique highlights the distinction between libertarian socialists and Libertarians: libertarian socialists advocate freedom while denying, to a greater or lesser extent, the legitimacy of private property. Libertarians, by contrast, believe that liberty is impossible without the protection of private property.
· Libertarian politics concerns itself with the liberation of the individual because it is collective, and with the collective liberation because it is individualistic.