27 October 2011
25 people came along to the first Positive Money MeetUp in Newcastle in a room in the Medical School at the University. This was a very good turnout considering that the weather that night was awful.
Attendees included those who were already convinced of the Positive Money analysis, to those who were merely interested and wanted to find out more.
One of the organisers had prepared sandwiches and food and the first half hour consisted of people meeting each other and chatting. Then Richard, a student at the Medical School, and one of the organisers, spoke for 15 minutes on the idea of money creation and where it comes from.
The next speaker then explained Positive Money’s 3-point programme:
1. Make banks ask our permission before they gamble with our money. That is, banks should either keep our money safe for us, or – and only with our permission – invest it.
2. Banks should tell us how they invest our money. That is, we need to know the investment priorities of the banks in case we disagree with them.
3. Stop the banks creating money out of nothing and place this power under accountable public control. That is, we remove the ability of High Street banks to create money out of nothing and place the power in a national institution owned by the public and subject to democratic control and accountability.
He said that this Positive Money solution would ensure that we will switch from a debt-based privately-created money supply – where money is created, at source, by the banks, as a debt, for their own profit…to one where money is created debt-free by a public institution and where, effectively, ‘We, the People’ enjoy the privilege, the profit and the power of the money-creation prerogative.
Importance of “Signing-Up” on Site!
A key strategy at this stage, he emphasised, was getting people signed-up as supporters on the Positive Money website, and the importance of bringing people together at these MeetUps. Cyber interaction was important, but so was social interaction.
It is the sign-up facility, he said, which has the power not only to transform the internal capacity of Positive Money as an organisation but also to catapult this message into the public consciousness and into mainstream discourse in a very big way. It is through that network of signed-up supporters, that Positive Money can spread its information at the click of a button literally to thousands, and co-ordinate all its activity.
So the Aim at the moment is to drive as many people towards Positive Money’s website as possible and get them signed-up as supporters. And we do that by “Spreading the Word”, and the Message.
And the “Word” is: PositiveMoney.org.uk
and the Message is “Sign Up…and remember to put in your postcode!”
How You Can Help
He spoke a lot about what people can do. For example, we can communicate the message. We can educate. We can motivate. And we can influence. We all have a role to play in those 4 activities.
If we want to help, the first thing we need to do is to consider our own particular circumstances at this moment. Consider: What can you do…where you are …in your life…right now? For example:
The first thing we can all do is just to “be present”, at wherever you feel you can “make a stand” on behalf of what you believe in. Just coming to a MeetUp is making a positive statement. Being present at a meeting, a Conference, an event is saying “I am showing sympathy and support for this idea.” It is saying, “Count me In!” It is making a stand.
Beyond that simple action, there are other things. Again consider where you are in your life, or where you plan to be.
The following is taken from the speaker’s notes:
Are you a Student with access to free conference rooms? Perhaps you can arrange a meeting and advertise it with flyers and posters around your campus. Perhaps you are part of a debating society and you can host an event, “This House believes the present Banking System is Unacceptable”. Perhaps you can host a round-table discussion with some academics at your college. Ben Dyson was invited by a supporter to just such an event last year at Oxford University.
Are you an economics student? How about investigating this book Where does Money Come from? for a project, or exploring the Money Reform field for a dissertation topic.
Are you part of a Company which hosts “round table lunchtime discussions”? Then invite Positive Money. Ben has already been invited to one of Scotland’s banking law firms for just such an event in November.
Does your company have a corporate social responsibility programme? If so, perhaps it can donate to Positive Money. Or it can host an event around the concept of Banking and Debt. Perhaps there are other ways in which your company could help to spread the message.
Maybe you are part of a company which can produce products – whether online, digital, video, or a printers which can produce banners, flags, balloons, badges. If so, then consider devising a marketing concept and trying to sell the idea to the Positive Money team.
Are you a Member of a Political Party? That means you are part of a network that can potentially reach thousands, and more. If so, perhaps you can arrange a speaker to address your monthly meeting, perhaps you can address your monthly meeting, or perhaps you can show the video “all about the money” and host a discussion afterwards. Or perhaps you could host a fringe meeting at your annual conference, or perhaps you can get an article in your party magazine, or maybe you know one of your elected party politicians who you could try to convince.
Perhaps Street Activism is your bag.
Perhaps you can organise a MeetUp in your own area, or you could assist? Perhaps you can find the venue. Perhaps you can prepare the venue, get it ready, meet and greet, or provide sandwiches…or provide transport, or write a Press Release that could be published in the local newspaper.
Create Flyers, Leaflets, Posters
Can you create your own A5 or A4 flyers, leaflets or posters. If so, send them to the office and Positive Money will edit them if necessary and may put them on the “Flyers” page where others can download them and print off copies.
We don’t mind our website address being listed on any leaflet, but please don’t deliver anything with a Positive Money logo on it, or something which gives the inadvertent impression that it is an official Positive Money publication, or anything with images which suggest it is one of our publications, unless it has been officially sanctioned by being published on our Flyers page.
Comment on the Internet
Every day there are financial articles which appear on all the main newspaper blog sites. If you can access them, then you can post relevant comments. The aim of such comments is specifically to drive people to the Positive Money website. If you are doing this, then do ensure that, where possible, you include a direct link to the Positive Money website, or where links are not allowed, you at least mention “Positive Money” by name so that people can find it on the web.
Ensure you are speaking as a private individual and do not give the impression that you are speaking for the organisation. Don’t allow yourself to get into tit-for-tat arguments, and remember the dignity of the Positive Money message.
Leave the website address lying about via Random Leafleting and “Carding”
We know a person who prints off 4″ x 2″ little pieces of paper on his computer and cuts them out, with the Slogan “Why are We All in Debt?”, and then the Positive Money website address, and he just leaves them everywhere. In bars, in the toilets of bars, on bus seats, in library books, just wherever he happens to be. “Random Carding.”
Don’t forget the importance of donating. If you are not in a position to do anything, then maybe you can enable other people who are in a position to do something…to do it! Money is the petrol upon which every movement runs. Positive Money has a very convenient Direct Debit facility on its site where you can arrange a Direct Debit in less than 5 minutes. By donating you are also investing in the ideas which will ensure the long-term economic health of both yourselves and the country.
There are a lot of well-meaning groups out there which are trying to spray the poisonous fruit of the world’s Debt Tree, but there is only one which is hacking at its roots – Positive Money.
The speaker ended by pointing out that if the attendees liked what they heard then there were 5 things everyone could do, right now, as soon as they leave, and in the next 24 hours. He suggested…
First Thing: Educate Self. To convince others, you need to have a grasp of the argument. It doesn’t have to be perfect – nobody is waiting until you get a Masters Degree in the subject! Positive Money already has such people! However, it also has a range of educational tools for everyone who wants to know more. It has the Website, the Book “Where does Money come From?” And it has the DVD, “all about the money”, and it has the Draft Bill. All these were for sale at the meeting at cost price.
Second Thing: When you go home tonight, if you have not already done so, then sign-up to the Positive Money network. Go to www.PositiveMoney.org.uk and add your name, your email address, and most importantly, your postcode to the sign-up box on the front page. Your postcode is necessary because that allows Positive Money to alert you about activity in your specific area.
Third Thing: In the next 24 hours, email or contact at least 1 other person. Tell them what you did today, what you liked about it, and ask them to consider signing-up to Positive Money.
Fourth Thing: In the next 24 hours, if you are on Facebook you can post a message telling people what you did, what you liked about it, and ask them to consider signing-up. Also “befriend” Positive Money on Facebook and ask your friends to consider doing the same.
We’re pleased to say that Positive Money’s Facebook Friends passed the 3000 barrier on Saturday 5 Nov 2011. We’re looking forward to befriending thousands more of you in the coming months!
Fifth Thing: In the next 24 hours, if you are on Twitter, again, please use it to direct people to the Positive Money sign-up facility on the Website, sign-up to the Positive Money Twitter feed, and also encourage your friends to do the same. The more signed-up people we can contact, with the click of a button, then the quicker our message is going to spread!
The meeting ended with questions, and 11 people repaired to a bar 10 minutes down the road to continue the conversations!
Want to arrange a MeetUp in your town or city?
You’ll find it a very rewarding experience and a great way to meet people who are also concerned about these issues. You don’t need to put on a presentation if you don’t feel up to that. You can simply meet up in a pleasant environment and chat, and then perhaps you can consider whether you want to put on something more structured in future.
The Festive Season is coming – how about arranging a MeetUp for a Christmas Pub Lunch, or Dinner?
Here are some ways you can go about arranging a MeetUp:
1. You could simply meet up in a bar and mingle. It’s free, and cheerful, but the downside is you can’t have any kind of presentation or speech, and some bars might be too noisy for some people. It’s fair to say that most Positive Money supporters will, at least, want to be able to hear themselves think! However, some bars have areas which they can cordon off, for a specific group, if booked in advance. Best to know in advance how loud your bar is going to be! All Wetherspoons, of course, have a no-music policy.
2. Some bars have meeting rooms which are above the bar and which are quieter. These can sometimes be free in the expectation that you are bringing business to the bar, or there can be a small charge for them.
3. If you can find a suitable venue, then you can have a more structured meeting, with a talk and discussion.
Hotels often have such meeting rooms and can charge anything from £50 upwards for an evening. They will usually provide flipcharts etc, and tea and biscuits, at an additional cost per person.
You’ll want to mention the cost to the attendees so you can ensure it is covered by the time the meeting ends. Make it clear where the donations box is! You might also be able to sell copies of Positive Money’s DVD “all about the money”, or various Money Reform related material.
4. Alternatively, a venue which is not a hotel or pub may allow you to provide your own refreshments. In that case, we’ve found that providing tea, coffee, and orange juice beforehand can be quite sociable – but needs organisation and must be safely supervised. It is good to have someone to concentrate on providing refreshments and watching over the hot water, while someone else meets and greets! Good buffet sandwich platters can be purchased from supermarkets, and you can get paper plates and napkins from Poundland.
If the venue is close to a suitable bar, then, after the meeting, those who are able, can move to it for further socialising.
It is also good to think about future activity – planning a local conference in association with other interested groups for example, or a MeetUp in a bigger venue.
Planning for numbers: So far we’ve found that you can usually expect double the number of people who have registered on the Meetup.com website to attend.
Consider these options, and if you want to go ahead with a MeetUp in your town or city then please get in touch. We can do most of the advertising by alerting all our signed-up supporters in your area.