Berkeley Votes to Boost Co-op Economy in the Face of Gentrification

Arizmendi Bakery

In 1971, the owners of The Cheese Board turned their Berkeley, California, mom-and-pop shop into a co-op, where they became worker-owners alongside their former employees. Over the years, more co-ops branched out from the bakery, forming the Arizmendi Association of Cooperatives, a group of six bakeries and a development and support collective in the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, The Cheese Board Collective, as it’s now called, has an espresso bar, a pizzeria, a menu of nearly 400 cheeses, and dozens of well-paying jobs.

Cathy Goldsmith has worked as a baker there for 21 years. Like the other worker-owners, she also has duties in human resources, accounts receivable, and community relations. She estimates that she makes about twice as much as she would make at other local bakeries where her responsibilities would be more limited.


Complementary currencies + value chains to build solidarity economies

Fri, Mar 11 at 1:00 PM, New York
By: NYC Department of Small Business Services Events

Can we use complementary/alternative currencies alongside value chains to develop a ‘virtuous cycle’ that supports solidarity economy growth regionally and beyond? We look at how complementary currency is used in local contexts to support community businesses, as well as a snapshot of developing cooperative/solidarity economy value chains, and we’ll brainstorm on how we can use these tools together to integrate, sustain and grow businesses and other institutions within solidarity economies. In addition, this workshop will attempt to map the landscape of the solidarity economy in New York City.

Democratize Big Banks

We don’t need to break up the big banks. We need to put them under democratic control
In These Times – Jamie Merchant


Public interest in progressive financial reform is growing. After the epic crash of 2008 and the “Great Recession,” and with a boost from a sharply populist campaign season, a number of left-of-center proposals have circulated around the question of what to do about the banking system, which has molded contemporary society in its image and defines the horizon of what is politically possible.

The international banks, whose outstanding derivative contracts are estimated to have a value of over $500 trillion, are the massive and powerful conduits of world capital, with financial assets that dwarf the annual GDP of the richest countries. A new antitrust movement aims at breaking the power of the largest banks by dismantling them. But while the intentions behind “breaking up the banks” are good, such a program is deeply flawed, doubling down on market competition and nationalism when we should be thinking about new forms of public control and transnational coordination. (More)

The cooperative, social & solidarity economy generates 8% of jobs


In Barcelona there are 4,800 companies in the cooperative, social and solidarity sector, representing nearly 3% of the total number of companies in the city and accounting for 8% of jobs. These enterprises are cooperatives, worker-owned companies, integration initiatives, associations, foundations and exchange networks.

All the city’s districts have companies, initiatives and experiences of the cooperative, social and solidarity economy. The Eixample district has the highest number, with 19% of the total. This more plural and democratic way of contributing to the economy is backed by municipal government as a way of responding to the socio-economic emergency. (More)


BUILDING ALTERNATIVES FOR PEOPLE AND PLANET: News and reports from the grassroots on worker and community coops, land trusts, participatory bufgeting and other explorations in mutual aid