Open Socialism a compelling alternative to democratic capitalism


A circle is an autonomous committee charged with governing a specific area of society. All levels of society work this way including the top level.

How Circles Operate

  • A circle has one specific area of control.
  • Circles make decisions, they don’t do work. If a circle wants to do something they create a project with team members to action it and the project reports back to the circle.
  • All circle meetings are live streamed via the internet. All decision making and related information is recorded and available to the public. The public can raise concerns and suggestions via formal feedback systems.
  • Circles can create sub circles to handle more specific matters. The higher up the circle tree the more general the circle’s purview.
  • A person can be in any number of circles (or projects) at any level if their skills/experience/availability warrant it.
  • Circles are experts in their area so they make decisions autonomously. Higher level circles are more generalist so it doesn’t make sense for them to veto decisions of the specialist circles.

Higher Level Circle Powers

A parent circle has the following control over a sub circle.

  • They define it’s initial charter.
  • They can dissolve a sub circle (and recreate with a new charter if required).

Whilst they don’t have control over sub circles decisions they can step in when it isn’t working out and reform it to be better.

Decision Making

Circles follow the consensus seeking model. Circles are encouraged to debate a decision and come to a consensus, but a fallback mechanism of voting with a 2/3 majority being required can be used if consensus cannot be reached. If repeated voting doesn’t result in a 2/3 majority a final vote can be had with a simple majority of votes required.

Purely voting driven decision making doesn’t promote discussion which can flesh out issues/people’s understanding of the topic. Purely consensus decision making can stall if people can’t agree. This model provides the best of both worlds.

Member Selection

Initial selection is done by the parent circle. From that point on a circle can manage it’s own members. New members can be added by the circle. Existing members can resign, or can be voted out if there are issues. Typically a circle would have a low number of members (less than 10) to allow for easy discussion between the members.

An Example

Here is a breakdown of a circle structure

Increase human longevity > Disease treatment > Cancer treatment > Breast cancer treatment

Then the breast cancer treatment circle may spin up multiple projects

  • Diet and the impact on breast cancer treatment
  • Using electricity to kill breast cancer

The breast cancer treatment circle will continue to work towards a cure and create projects as needed. If a cure is reached it would dissolve itself.

Once created there is no need for the cancer treatment circle to be involved in the breast cancer treatment since cancer treatment is more general and less qualified.

Why Circles?

Circles has a number of benefits over ‘managers’ or ‘ministers’. These have one person in charge and whilst they are chosen for their talent, no one person will be perfect and be free from bias or never make mistakes. A circle allows for individuals to get it wrong as all decisions go through discussion and the consensus seeking model. Mistakes can still be made but it’s less likely.

Additionally, corruption is much more difficult with a circle. An individual may be able to be bribed or corrupted but it would be much more difficult to corrupt a 2/3 majority of a circle.

Circles all the way down?

At a certain level it may not make sense to have a circle in charge and it could be individuals. This would also depend on the particular area. This decision would be made by each as to whether more sub circles make sense.


Circles have a standard way of operating, however there will certainly be special cases. When a circle is created, it’s charter can be set so as to tune it for its particular goals.