Working Together to Build Something New – Funding Sustainable, Local Communities with Public Banks

New Mexico is facing huge challenges that national institutions, including global financial institutions, have failed to address: poverty, unemployment, low educational achievement, lack of funding for small business, to name a few. These are issues that we have too long waited for others to solve. It is now time to revive American self-reliance, develop pride in our own communities, and put capitalism and democracy to work together.

From the Tea Party on the right to progressives on the left, Americans are realizing that local government can, and must, solve problems that the largest governmental and financial institutions cannot, or will not, solve for them. “We are on our own,” one New Mexico mayor said recently. “If we are going to support local business or health centers, build bridges or support the arts, we are going to have to find the ways to raise the funds ourselves.”

Square WEB
Bob Lanphear, Lanphear Design

We in Banking on New Mexico have come to the same realization. It is time to generate funding and take initiative at the local level because no one else is putting our problems or the solutions to these problems at the top of their agendas. We can solve these problems on our own with the help of the formation of public banks.

More than 20 states are now considering the creation of public banks as a supplement to community banks and credit unions — increasing local control, reducing paper work, increasing lending to projects that benefit our local communities, and reversing the interest stream that now sends millions out of state. With public banks we can keep that interest at work here at home. This is community capitalism and a more democratic economy.

New Mexico has perhaps the richest history of any state in the country. Some say our diversity and conflict have blotted out our common humanity. We say, give us the tools to make communities work and watch us build a new story of pride and economic success. This can be the new story of New Mexico!

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Public Banking — Funding Local, Sustainable Economies

On November 4, 2015, we lost our remarkable founder, colleague and dear friend -- Craig Barnes.

Craig's knowledge, experience and character brought us together as WeArePeopleHere! Everyone associated with our grass-roots group feels blessed to have learned from Craig as he guided our work to further social and economic justice for all people. We carry on his work in pursuit of that goal.


A Celebration of Craig’s Life will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at the Rivera Chapel of Light in Santa Fe.

A People’s Gathering in Honor of the Life of Craig Barnes, founder of WeArePeopleHere! will be held from 6:30–8:00pm on Monday, November 30, 2015 at El Museo Cultural. Craig inspired so many. We hope you’ll come to share a memory, and the ways big or small that you would like to carry his work forward. Beverages and light refreshments will be served.
Hosted by WeArePeopleHere!, El Museo Cultural and Red Thread Collective.

Listen to KSFR’s memorial aired on Saturday November 14, 2015 during Craig's regular, Our Times with Craig Barnes time slot.

Craig Barnes
Photo courtesy of Santa Fe Radio Cafe

Craig was a National Governing Board member of Common Cause, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest, and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political process. Common Cause has grown into a nationwide network of more than 400,000 members and supporters, with offices in 36 states and Washington, D.C. Read their tributes here.

Honoring Craig Barnes by Walt McRee, Chair of the Public Banking Institute:

Activist, author, radio host Craig Barnes dies at 79

Posted: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 9:00 pm | Updated: 9:40 am, Thursday Nov 5, 2015.
By Steve Terrell | The New Mexican

Craig Barnes — political activist, author, lawyer, radio host and playwright — died Wednesday following a lengthy battle with lymphoma. He was 79.

“He died very, very peacefully with lots of family around him,” said his son Will Barnes, also of Santa Fe.

“We were all very inspired by him,” Will Barnes said. “He was a great mentor, a great father, grandfather and husband to our mother.”

According to his website, Craig Barnes “grew up under the cottonwoods of eastern Colorado in a world driven by hard work but redeemed by grand champions at the County Fair, horse races, baseball in wheat fields, and a three-room country school.”

In 1950, when Craig Barnes was a teenager, his family moved to England. Later, he moved with his family to Greece and then attended a boarding school in Switzerland. When he came back to the United States for college, he chose Stanford over Princeton or Harvard “because there were girls there,” he told The New Mexican in an interview last year.

After college, Barnes moved back to Colorado. In 1970, he ran for Congress there as a peace candidate. He was co-counsel on a landmark Denver school integration case and another lawsuit trying to get wages for Denver nurses equal to those of their male counterparts. Barnes also worked as a newspaper columnist for the Rocky Mountain News and did spoken commentary on National Public Radio.

In the 1980s, as a member of the Beyond War movement, Barnes spent two years working with a team of Russian and American scientists writing a book called Breakthrough: Emerging New Thinking, Soviet and Western Scholars Issue a Challenge to Build a World Beyond War. The book — which was eventually endorsed by then U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev — was written to educate people on the devastating effects a nuclear war would have on the world.

With his wife, Mikaela Barnes, Craig Barnes moved to Santa Fe in 1990 to be closer to his son and a new grandson. The move didn’t slow down his political activism.

In the 1990s, Barnes helped with peace talks between the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

His nonfiction books include Growing Up True: Lessons from a Western Boyhood, (2001); In Search of the Lost Feminine: Decoding the Myths That Radically Reshaped Civilization (2006); and Democracy at the Crossroads: Princes, Peasants, Poets and Presidents in the Struggle for (and against) the Rule of Law (2009).

With the war in Iraq raging in 2006, Barnes wrote a courtroom drama, A Nation Deceived, American’s First Presidential Felony Trial. He directed Ed Asner in a staged reading of the play. He also wrote three plays he called the Elizabethan Trilogy.

He was a member of the national governing board of Common Cause, a group dedicated to open government and limiting the influence of money in elections.

Locally, Barnes helped form an organization called WeArePeopleHere!, which has pushed for the city of Santa Fe to establish a public bank. He started a weekly radio show called Our Times with Craig Barnes on KSFR. Though he “retired” from the show in April 2013, he came back a few months later. His last live show aired Oct. 10.

KSFR is planning to do an on-air memorial for Barnes on his regular time slot, 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14.

Last year, Barnes was named a Santa Fe Living Treasure.

In addition to his son Will, Barnes is survived by his wife, whom he married more than 50 years ago; two daughters, Molly Goodman of Palo Alto, Calif., and Lisa King of North Carolina; son Tom Barnes of Los Angeles and 11 grandchildren.

Will Barnes said there will be a memorial service for his father, possibly later this month. Arrangements are pending.

Craig Barnes