第一位自稱自由意志主義者的是早期的法國無政府共產主義者约瑟夫·迪亚契。該字來自於法文單字「libertaire」，用來規避法國對無政府主義刊物的禁止。在歐洲社會主義運動中，「自由意志主義」常被用來描述反對國家社會主義的人士，如米哈依爾·巴枯寧。在美國，最常稱為自由意志主義的運動是信奉資本主義哲學。因此，「自由意志社會主義」這個名稱造成了美國人的矛盾。然而，自由意志主義結合社會主義早於結合資本主義，而且許多反權威主義者依然譴責美國的自由意志主義結合資本主義是錯誤的。如同諾姆·喬姆斯基所說，一名始終如一的自由主義者「必須反對生產手段的私人所有權和這個制度中的工資奴隸（英語： Wage slavery），工資奴隸的存在不相容於勞動必須由生產者自由承擔和控制的原則。」
激進經濟學家羅賓·漢內爾（英語： Robin Hahnel）講述了從自由意志社會主義擁有最大影響力的十九世紀末開始，一直到二十世紀的前四分之一這段時期的歷史：
自由意志社會主義者相信，所有社會聯繫應由擁有同等協商能力的個體去發展，經濟權力累積在少數人手中與政治力量的集中化會減少社會中其他人的協商能力與自由。換句話說，資本主義和右翼自由意志主義的原則是集中經濟權力在擁有最多資產的人們手上。自由意志社會主義則試圖分配權力，讓社會中的成員更為平等。自由意志社會主義和自由市場自由意志主義之間最關鍵的差異是，前者的支持者認為一個人的自由度是受到他的經濟和社會地位所影響，而後者的支持者則注重選擇的自由。這有時被描述為他們追求社會中「自由創造力」（英語： Free creativity）的最大化，優於追求「自由企業」（英語： Free enterprise）。
許多自由意志社會主義者主張，應該由大規模的自發性公會管理工業生產，而工人則保有個人勞動產品的權力。因此，我們可以看出「私有財產」（英語： Private property）與「個人財物」（英語： Personal possession）兩個概念之間的差別。「私有財產」授予個人對一件物品的單獨控制權，無論是否有在使用，也不考慮生產能力；而「個人財物」並不授予個人對一件不使用的物品權力。
- "It implies a classless and anti-authoritarian (i.e. libertarian) society in which people manage their own affairs" I.1 Isn't libertarian socialism an oxymoron? （页面存档备份，存于互联网档案馆） at An Anarchist FAQ
- "unlike other socialists, they tend to see (to various different degrees, depending on the thinker) to be skeptical of centralized state intervention as the solution to capitalist exploitation..." Roderick T. Long. "Toward a libertarian theory of class." Social Philosophy and Policy. Volume 15. Issue 02. Summer 1998. p. 305
- Bookchin, Murray and Janet Biehl. The Murray Bookchin Reader. Cassell, 1997. p. 170 ISBN 0-304-33873-7
- Hicks, Steven V. and Daniel E. Shannon. The American journal of economics and sociolology. Blackwell Pub, 2003. p. 612
- "Therefore, rather than being an oxymoron, "libertarian socialism" indicates that true socialism must be libertarian and that a libertarian who is not a socialist is a phoney. As true socialists oppose wage labour, they must also oppose the state for the same reasons. Similarly, libertarians must oppose wage labour for the same reasons they must oppose the state." "I1. Isn't libertarian socialism an oxymoron" in （页面存档备份，存于互联网档案馆） An Anarchist FAQ
- "So, libertarian socialism rejects the idea of state ownership and control of the economy, along with the state as such. Through workers' self-management it proposes to bring an end to authority, exploitation, and hierarchy in production." "I1. Isn't libertarian socialism an oxymoron" in （页面存档备份，存于互联网档案馆） An Anarchist FAQ
- "Their analysis treats libertarian socialism as a form of anti-parliamentary, democratic, antibureaucratic grass roots socialist organisation, strongly linked to working class activism." Alex Prichard, Ruth Kinna, Saku Pinta and Dave Berry (eds) Libertarian Socialism: Politics in Black and Red. Palgrave Macmillan, December 2012. p. 13
- " ...preferringa system of popular self governance via networks of decentralized, local voluntary, participatory, cooperative associations. Roderick T. Long. "Toward a libertarian theory of class." Social Philosophy and Policy. Volume 15. Issue 02. Summer 1998. p. 305
- "What is of particular interest here, however, is the appeal to a form of emancipation grounded in decentralized, cooperative and democratic forms of political and economic governance which most libertarian socialist visions, including Cole's, tend to share." Charles Masquelier. Critical theory and libertarian socialism: Realizing the political potential of critical social theory. Bloombury. New York-London. 2014. p. 189
- Mendes, Silva. ‘Socialismo Libertário ou Anarchismo’ Vol. 1（1896）:“Society should be free through mankind's spontaneous federative affiliation to life, based on the community of land and tools of the trade; meaning: Anarchy will be equality by abolition of private property and liberty by abolition of authority”
- "...preferring a system of popular self governance via networks of decentralized, local, voluntary, participatory, cooperative associations-sometimes as a complement to and check on state power..."
- Rocker, Rudolf. Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice. AK Press. 2004: 65. ISBN 978-1-902593-92-0.
- "What is implied by the term 'libertarian socialism'?: The idea that socialism is first and foremost about freedom and therefore about overcoming the domination, repression, and alienation that block the free flow of human creativity, thought, and action...An approach to socialism that incorporates cultural revolution, women's and children's liberation, and the critique and transformation of daily life, as well as the more traditional concerns of socialist politics. A politics that is completely revolutionary because it seeks to transform all of reality. We do not think that capturing the economy and the state lead automatically to the transformation of the rest of social being, nor do we equate liberation with changing our life-styles and our heads. Capitalism is a total system that invades all areas of life: socialism must be the overcoming of capitalist reality in its entirety, or it is nothing." "What is Libertarian Socialism?" by Ulli Diemer. Volume 2, Number 1 (Summer 1997 issue) of The Red Menace.
- "LibSoc share with LibCap an aversion to any interference to freedom of thought, expression or choicce of lifestyle." Roderick T. Long. "Toward a libertarian theory of class." Social Philosophy and Policy. Volume 15. Issue 02. Summer 1998. p. 305
- "...what categorizes libertarian socialism is a focus on forms of social organization to further the freedom of the individual combined with an advocacy of non-state means for achieving this." Matt Dawson. Late modernity, individualization and socialism: An Associational Critique of Neoliberalism. Palgrave MacMillan. 2013. p. 64
- The Soviet Union Versus Socialism. chomsky.info. [2015-11-22].
Libertarian socialism, furthermore, does not limit its aims to democratic control by producers over production, but seeks to abolish all forms of domination and hierarchy in every aspect of social and personal life, an unending struggle, since progress in achieving a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and consciousness.
- "Authority is defined in terms of the right to exercise social control (as explored in the "sociology of power") and the correlative duty to obey (as explred in the "philosophy of practical reason"). Anarchism is distinguished, philosophically, by its scepticism towards such moral relations – by its questioning of the claims made for such normative power – and, practically, by its challenge to those "authoritative" powers which cannot justify their claims and which are therefore deemed illegitimate or without moral foundation."Anarchism and Authority: A Philosophical Introduction to Classical Anarchism by Paul McLaughlin. AshGate. 2007. p. 1
- "The IAF - IFA fights for : the abolition of all forms of authority whether economical, political, social, religious, cultural or sexual.""Principles of The International of Anarchist Federations 互联网档案馆的存檔，存档日期January 5, 2012，.]"]
- "Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations." Emma Goldman. "What it Really Stands for Anarchy" in Anarchism and Other Essays.
- Individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker defined anarchism as opposition to authority as follows "They found that they must turn either to the right or to the left, – follow either the path of Authority or the path of Liberty. Marx went one way; Warren and Proudhon the other. Thus were born State Socialism and Anarchism...Authority, takes many shapes, but, broadly speaking, her enemies divide themselves into three classes: first, those who abhor her both as a means and as an end of progress, opposing her openly, avowedly, sincerely, consistently, universally; second, those who profess to believe in her as a means of progress, but who accept her only so far as they think she will subserve their own selfish interests, denying her and her blessings to the rest of the world; third, those who distrust her as a means of progress, believing in her only as an end to be obtained by first trampling upon, violating, and outraging her. These three phases of opposition to Liberty are met in almost every sphere of thought and human activity. Good representatives of the first are seen in the Catholic Church and the Russian autocracy; of the second, in the Protestant Church and the Manchester school of politics and political economy; of the third, in the atheism of Gambetta and the socialism of Karl Marx." Benjamin Tucker. Individual Liberty.
- Ward, Colin. Anarchism as a Theory of Organization. 1966 [1 March 2010]. （原始内容存档于25 March 2010）.
- Anarchist historian George Woodcock report of Mikhail Bakunin's anti-authoritarianism and shows opposition to both state and non-state forms of authority as follows: "All anarchists deny authority; many of them fight against it." (p. 9)...Bakunin did not convert the League's central committee to his full program, but he did persuade them to accept a remarkably radical recommendation to the Berne Congress of September 1868, demanding economic equality and implicitly attacking authority in both Church and State."
- Brown, L. Susan. Anarchism as a Political Philosophy of Existential Individualism: Implications for Feminism. The Politics of Individualism: Liberalism, Liberal Feminism and Anarchism. Black Rose Books Ltd. Publishing. 2002: 106.
- "It is forgotten that the early defenders of commercial society like [Adam] Smith were as much concerned with criticising the associational blocks to mobile labour represented by guilds as they were to the activities of the state. The history of socialist thought includes a long associational and anti-statist tradition prior to the political victory of the Bolshevism in the east and varieties of Fabianism in the west. John O'Neil." The Market: Ethics, knowledge and politics. Routledge. 1998. p. 3
- "In some ways, it is perhaps fair to say that if Left communism is an intellectual- political formation, it is so, first and foremost, negatively – as opposed to other socialist traditions. I have labelled this negative pole 'socialist orthodoxy', composed of both Leninists and social democrats...What I suggested was that these Left communist thinkers differentiated their own understandings of communism from a strand of socialism that came to follow a largely electoral road in the West, pursuing a kind of social capitalism, and a path to socialism that predominated in the peripheral and semi- peripheral countries, which sought revolutionary conquest of power and led to something like state capitalism. Generally, the Left communist thinkers were to find these paths locked within the horizons of capitalism (the law of value, money, private property, class, the state), and they were to characterize these solutions as statist, substitutionist and authoritarian." Chamsy el- Ojeili. Beyond post-socialism. Dialogues with the far-left. Palgrave Macmillan. 2015. p. 8
- Sims, Franwa. The Anacostia Diaries As It Is. Lulu Press. 2006: p.160.
- A Mutualist FAQ: A.4. Are Mutualists Socialists? 互联网档案馆的存檔，存档日期2009-06-09.
- Bookchin, Murray. Post-Scarcity Anarchism AK Press (2004) p.xl
- Chomsky, Noam. Chomsky on Democracy and Education Routledge (2002) p.133
- Ross, Dr. Jeffery Ian. Controlling State Crime Transaction Publishers (200) p.400
- Ostergaard, Geoffrey. "Anarchism". A Dictionary of Marxist Thought. Blackwell Publishing, 1991. p. 21.
- Noam Chomsky, Carlos Peregrín Otero. Language and Politics. AK Press, 2004, p. 739
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