Terms/Issues covered:

  • “The Movement”
  • “Members”
  • “Chapters”
  • “Teams”
  • “Coordinators”
  • “Rational Consensus”
  • “Fundraising”

The Movement

The Movement, as an entity, consists of the global chapter set usually comprising city, state and nation. While The Movement is global, by definition, chapters are what comprise the physical presence of The Zeitgeist Movement in form. To be a part of the Movement is to be a part of your regional chapter at the lowest degree of operation in your area, or part of a functioning project team, hence becoming part of the whole.

Members

For a person to be technically considered a member of the Zeitgeist Movement they must be active in a chapter or project team. If a chapter doesn’t exist in their respective region, a prospective member would establish one. This is very simple in its preliminary stages as all it requires is a website or community group of any kind/size. It has to start somewhere.

Chapters

Chapters are regional Zeitgeist Movement member groups, organized in tiers.

From “top to bottom”, the current chapter tiers are:

  1. International – country-based chapter
  2. State/Province – next tier regional distinction within a given country
  3. City/Town – next tier regional distinction within a given state or province

Chapters need to facilitate strongly networked communication between their members and members of other chapters. As a Chapter grows, periodic meetings should be conducted in live and/or virtual (online) settings along with participation in regional or global events and actions.

Chapter meetings occur in tiers with the coordinators meeting on their respective level. For example, the Queensland state chapter, assuming no sub-chapters within it, would have a meeting with all QLD members present. However, the meeting of the next largest tier, the country level (Australia), would be only with the coordinators of each state, not all the members. This streamlining is for the sake of facilitating communication as it would be logistically too difficult to have global meetings with thousands of members at once.

Teams

Teams work together as organized groups of fully-oriented members, organized by team coordinators, on a specific project or projects.

Teams generally take two forms: global teams and regional teams.

Global teams are teams which work on central Movement projects which relate to the entire global organization.

Regional Teams are typically independent of global assessment and are created by the chapter.

TZM Australia teams at present include:

  • Web-development team
  • Graphic design team
  • Media editing team
  • Blog team
  • Research team
  • Content development team
  • Spirit of the Times (magazine) team

Please be aware that teams form and disband according to the needs of any given project. This means that the information provided here is subject to change.

Coordinators

Coordinators are member-organizers/representatives for each chapter or team. A chapter may be established with just one coordinator, but it is considered ideal for chapters to have multiple coordinators working as a coordination team with distributed responsibilities. With the understanding that volunteers have limited time to allocate to their work for the Movement it is understood that effective networking and teamwork are vital elements of the Movement’s functionality.

Coordination within the Movement is an administrative responsibility rather than a position, with coordinators fulfilling the role of basic operation oversight organizers who work with a chapter or team on communication and any related admin issues. They are not to be confused with leaders or authorities, and are not endowed with a higher level of decision-making authority than any other member. They are equal in relevance to each other member of the respective chapter/team and they are not in a position of final decision making over the chapter. Rather, they volunteer their time for the sake of relaying consensus-informed information from and to their chapter/team, along with often taking the initiative for respective projects.

Chapter coordinators are typically the founding party or parties of a given chapter and they are, of course, volunteers – like everyone else. Coordinators who establish new chapters and who are the main point of contact for their chapter with a public presence have to undergo approval, however, by the next  higher tier coordinator(s). For example, if a city or regional chapter is to be established, that person is reviewed by the national coordinator as to the integrity of that new prospect. New chapter creation is contingent upon the commitment, integrity and level of understanding demonstrated by the prospective chapter coordinator, and this is assessed on a per case basis. This is one of the few cases where the coordinator of a city/state/country is required to make a “decision” – in this case, about a [sub] chapter application. In the event of conflict, the relevant next degree tier as a whole will work to reach rational consensus.

Global team coordinators are not authorities but, again, are rather volunteer helpers whose responsibility is to ensure the processes of each team are facilitated effectively. In the event of problems/conflict, the change of coordinator(s) of a given chapter/team are achieved through both respective chapter/team consensus and international coordinator assessment – through rational consensus.

Rational Consensus

Rational Consensus is not to be confused with the historically failed traditional mob rule democratic process of “one person – one vote”. TZM does not condone total, open mob rule democracy as it is based on the faulty assumption that each participating party is in a sufficiently informed position to make the most intellectually appropriate, unbiased decision.

Effective decision making has nothing to do with the interests of a group of people, nor the interests of a single person. Effective decision making is a purely technical process of logical assessment of a given set of variables and hence can only be based on upon tangible, technical referents – not abject, unsupported mass value opinion, which is what the pure democratic theory erroneously assumes holds integrity. In other words, each argument of a given member must be logically supported by an external referent/set of external referents – clearly reasoned in communication to support the conclusion given. The manifestation of this reasoning could be called a “case”.

Using the example of a chapter scenario: When a conflict of agreement occurs within the group, the process of rational consensus is commenced, which requires each conflicting party to present their case to everyone else. This case must consist of technically reasoned factors/instances/examples which can be evaluated outside of the expression of the person who is presenting the problem. In other words, insinuation, assumptions and predispositions have no value. If the argument cannot be qualified or quantified in some manner it isn’t valid as an argument.

Let’s assume a member has a problem with a coordinator’s actions and would like to see the removal of that coordinator. Let’s assume the case reasoning is that the coordinator is not properly representing the interests/ideas of the majority of the group. In this scenario, a set of technical examples would need to be provided which the group itself can review. Then a rational “democratic” consensus is reached within that group based solely upon the evidence presented – not the expression of any persons themselves. Now, while this process is simple and direct enough – resembling traditional democracy – the decision can still be overridden in the event the conclusions made are suspect as to their technical reasoning by the next tier degree in the chapter structure. This extended evaluation exists to protect from erroneous conclusions made by a possibly uninformed or biased chapter membership.

In other words, for example, the removal of a state chapter coordinator, while meeting rational consensus in the respective chapter, might still need to meet rational consensus on the state tier on the structure to protect against erroneous or biased group decisions or even infiltrations by 3rd parties with the intent of problem generation. Since these situations are very rare and occur usually within very small, lower tier chapters, the factors which comprise such an intervention naturally exist on a per case basis.

As an aside, it is important to point out that there is nothing to gain personally by being a coordinator of any chapter or team in and of itself. Abuse of this position offers nothing in self-interest return. There is no pay and typically it is a higher stress position due to the responsibility inherent. Many who come from the hyper-democratic conditioning assume that mass consensus is the only thing we can trust while the individual is not trustworthy at all. This cynical view needs to be adjusted to understand that in an environment where a person cannot find reward for their narrow self-interest, they will have no reason typically to perpetuate that narrow self-interest. This is one of the core reasons, as an aside, that the Movement operates without money overall – as money tends to set the stage for corruption on a basic level, as history has shown.

Information Relay

Each chapter tier has a set coordinator or team of coordinators and these coordinators are only the communications representative of the interests of that chapter, although, in certain cases, they are needed to assess decisions about chapter conflicts/appointments in the tier beneath them [see above]. In all cases rational consensus is the process of decision making and this naturally underscores what is referred to as “information relay” as well.

Information is discussed within each chapter at their respective periodic meetings, either live or online, with rational consensus being met with regard to any issue of importance. Then a given idea, if relevant to the global Movement, is set on a course from local chapter level to global core team level, through a process of systematic coordinator representation. If a city chapter originates an idea/project which it feels would be applicable to the global whole of the Zeitgeist Movement, that idea is then presented and discussed at the state or national level with all other city chapters.

Once rational consensus is met on that level the state coordinator brings that idea to the  national level, and after rational consensus is reached the idea then goes from the national to the international level, where the idea is presented and discussed with all countries represented within the Movement. It is at this level that rational consensus would implement the idea.

This is the “bottom-up” approach. From there, “top-down” directives can be suggested which affect all chapter actions. Obviously, there are “middle ground” proposals which will begin not on the “lower” tier level, but on a “mid” or “high” level. In this case, it is the responsibility of each coordinator of the Movement to communicate the issues presented to their respective chapters and, if there is conflict, the bottom-up approach is instituted again to reach rational consensus and, hence, resolution.

Fundraising

As a global rule, the Movement operates on the basis of time dedication and not monetary dedication. No chapter is allowed to take direct, open donations. Overall, the Movement deliberately operates on a personal contribution, volunteer model. However, there are two basic exceptions. Since the websites and other services cost money to run, simple merchandise is respectable to offer. The TZM Australia website, for example, offers a copy of the Ethical Consumer Group’s Guide to Ethical Supermarket Shopping to help offset the cost of the free DVD project which provides free copies of the Zeitgeist series of documentaries upon request. However, any “excessive” merchandising will be shut down if it presents a case for abuse. Such decisions are made by international/global admin consensus.

The second exception is when a specific temporal project is required which needs funding. Typically, it is expected that such funding will come personally from an individual or set of individuals working with the chapter directly. In the event that this cannot happen, a fully transparent temporary donation system can be put into place to meet the needs of that project.