Who We Are
The Widening Circle (TWC) is an action campaign to advance a global citizens movement for a Great Transition. While continuing our independent efforts, the individuals and organizations committed to TWC recognize that the times call for a higher-order synergy. The complexity and scope of this undertaking requires a sustained effort and an adaptive strategy, a campaign that evolves and spreads across regions and issues in “widening circles." TWC aims to engage myriad others in a process of co-creation, spawning associated circles within a coordinated organizing process.
TWC's organizational structure includes four Operational circles and three Support circles:
Council of Stewards: a committee that guides and facilitates TWC development.
Circle of Representatives: TWC's representative council setting overall policy.
Thematic Circles: groups working on critical global challenges.
Regional Circles: TWC foci at multi-national, national, and community scales.
Circle of Allies: organizations actively supporting TWC.
Circle of Counselors: distinguished leaders who endorse and advise TWC.
How We Work Together
Rather than a rigid blueprint, TWC will grow in distinct phases that adapt strategy and structure to changing circumstances, allowing new leadership to take ownership. As it grows, TWC’s internal processes will honor the democratic principles of inclusiveness and transparency, always seeking to balance the equally valid principles of pluralism and unity. In so doing, it rejects the false choice between top-down and bottom-up approaches: faith in discredited vanguards models, at one extreme, and in the sufficiency of self-organizing action, at the other. A third approach, at once common and plural, better aligns with the reality of our world and contemporary sensibilities: as global as must be and as local as can be.
Correspondingly, decision-making within TWC follows a principle we call constrained pluralism. On the one hand, this principle recognizes that a minimum set of transnational issues need to be addressed at the global level, through a representative coordinating body. On the other hand, embracing the idea of “subsidiarity,” decision-making happens at the most local feasible level of the multi-scale organization we are building. Thus, constrained pluralism validates and encourages local circles to independently design and pursue strategies constrained only by fidelity to the common values and goals that underpin TWC. In this way, TWC will embrace diverse perspectives and initiatives as semi-autonomous manifestations of a common global project. This approach requires cultivating in TWC – and in the global movement, in general, and the Great Transition society we envision – a politics of trust that tolerates proximate differences in order to nurture the ultimate basis of planetary solidarity.
In 2010, Great Transition Initiative participants engaged in an intensive discussion on how to build a more effective and cohesive global citiznes movement. The consensus document that emerged, Imagine All the People, articulated the motivation and strategy of a new campaign: The Widening Cirlce. TWC was formally launched by leaders of 12 organizations meeting at the “Synergizer” in September 2010 in California with an open invitation for others to join this process of widening and proliferating circles linked in common purpose.