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Townhall Meetings - Global
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- Created on Saturday, 28 May 2011 16:26
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The Zeitgeist Movement's Townhall Meetings are live, public events conducted by Official Regional Chapters. These localized events are similar in function to our annual global "Zeitgeist Day" [ZDAY] events but ideally occur monthly, rather than annually. Modeled after patterns proven effective by civil right's movements historically, the goal is to inform the public of TZM's understandings and goals and hence grow awareness and membership.
While annual events such as "ZDAY" and TZM Media Festival are critical annual Chapter events for public awareness in a large scale context, these local, smaller monthly events serve to provide a more grassroots, personal engagement, working to create regional momentum and continued interest. As denoted in TZM materials, the power of our work is only as good as the techniques we utilize to inform others of our observations and intents. While internet based activism is indeed powerful, live human interaction is critical to Chapter development and hence the goal of global critical mass. This also opens the door for more press coverage as well, which is important.
Ideally, these events should be synchronized globally. As a general suggestion, the 3rd weekend of each month is the current period. As this process develops, a dynamic Global Map will posted on this website to show all monthly events.
Space & Format:
Keep it simple. TZM Townhalls do not need to be epic, expensive or complex. Each Regional Chapter should estimate their attendance and find an inexpensive space which fits. As your monthly events continue, you naturally adapt the environment based upon the ongoing response. A 20-50 person seated space for a 1-2 hour event is likely common for many. While in the big city centers, up to 200 people might be comfortable. A small video projection system for visual aids is also suggested for the clarity of your presentations.
The format for the Event itself is left to the creativity of the Chapter Event Coordinators and presenters but here are a number of suggestions:
1) Intro Orientation: A 10-15 introduction to the history of The Movement, its basic observations with respect to the current economic model and supporting values, along the trains of thought that arrive at the need for a new social model (Resource-Based Economy) is a good way to begin.
2) TZM News: Announcements of new data or programs emerging globally or regionally.
3) Societal Breakdown Update: As many are seeing across the world, our system continue to shows severe signs of deterioration from the loss of labor, to increasing homelessness, to mass starvation, to ecological collapse, etc. Sharing recent news about current problems both regionally and globally, providing the correct context for these problems with respect to the foundational flaws of the current socio-economic system, is critical.
4) Problem Solving Update: Just as new data about ecological and social problems is important to identify in the proper causal context, it is also critical to show the state of solutions. Scientific advancements are emerging at a exponential rate, while the social application of these advancements are often hindered by the economic system itself. Discussions of such advancements which can improve Public Health and hence Social Sustainability is the backbone of what TZM represents.
5) Guest Speakers: There are numerous small and large, 3rd party organizations which have ideas about sustainability and progress. Inviting such figures to give their research is a great way to bridge connections and expand.
6) Q&A: The traditional definition of "TownHall" is the open engagement of the public via questions and answers. A 20 min period for such is suggested.
Here are some lecture format/content examples:
At each event, an Email List Sign in Book is suggested. This can be kept near the exit. Those in attendance can write down their emails for your Chapter to insert into your website's database for your Newsletters/Updates.
As far as the event itself - live, free streaming (Ustream) [ if you have internal access in the space.] and direct recording/upload is highly recommended. They should be posted on your local chapters Youtube/Networking sites. This is important as it continues to inform the internet audience as well and show the momentum, generating more interest.
Apart from your Chapter's mailing lists and word of mouth, posting flyers and ads in local papers is a common practice for promotion. Using Social Networks such as Facebook and the like is also effective and suggested.
Access and Security:
Ideally, admission to these events are free and open. However, often that is not possible financially considering the rental of the space and equipment.
It is up to the Chapters to find balance in this regard. Having suggested donations at the door is better than a fixed ticket price, gesturally. In the event the budget to begin with is not available, transparent Chipin like donations are allowed but any abuse of this will not be tolerated. TZM is not a donation or monetarily driven movement. It is about time and resources, not money.
Sadly, as with any advancement for true social change, tension and dispute is possible. Larger events might need to have some form of security. It is at the discretion of each Chapter to gauge such a need. This might incur a budget requirement as well. Overall, the approach to these meetings should be calm, objective and non-inflammatory. Any person attending with hostility should be treated with respect to avoid disputes. it is important that those chapter members creating these events be prepared to handle, in a civil, respectful way, anyone who might cause problems. Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules for this but generally speaking if respect is shown, respect is reciprocated.
While a more automated system is a being developed for Event Submissions, for now please simply send the event info to:
To avoid confusion and possible abuse, only Official Chapter Coordinators can submit these events. Please join/contact your Local Chapter if you would like to host such an event in your area.