On November 4, 2015, the members of WeArePeopleHere! and Banking on New Mexico lost our remarkable founder, colleague and dear friend – Craig Barnes.
Throughout Craig’s half-century career as a political activist, author, lawyer, radio host and playwright, he was consistently a driving force behind causes he knew would improve peoples’ lives.
During the Viet Nam War he ran for Congress in Colorado as a Peace Candidate. As a civil rights lawyer in the ‘70s, he fought for school integration in Denver, equal pay for equal work for female nurses, and the “sunshine” of open government in the legislative process. As a Director of Common Cause, Craig urged its founder, John Gardner, to allow states to work on a broad democracy agenda, paving the way for Common Cause chapters in all 50 states.
As a member of the Beyond War movement in the ‘80s, he negotiated nuclear issues with leaders in the Academy of Sciences in Moscow and worked with Russian and American Scientists on a book to educate people on the devastating effects of Nuclear War.
In the ‘90s Craig facilitated talks to end ethnic cleansing in the Caucuses of the former Soviet Union and led negotiations yielding transboundary water treaties in Central Asia.
As the 21st Century began, Craig and his family made a new home in Santa Fe and he turned his attention to writing and commentary. He published four books, four plays, and countless newspaper, magazine and radio essays, analyzing political and economic concepts and promoting progressive thinking. During the Santa Fe years, Craig had his own radio show, “Our Times with Craig Barnes” on KSFR, where his wisdom, humor and expert guests made it one of the station’s most popular.
Craig Barnes’ writings and lectures revealed how a resurgence of oligarchic power and the rejection of liberal values by the privileged wealthy were eroding the very foundations of democracy, and led to the formation of WeArePeopleHere! His fierce commitment to a rekindling of the cause of social and economic justice then fostered our earliest consideration of public banking as a way to truly improve the lives of the people of Santa Fe.
In the twilight of his life, Craig remained the driving force behind BankingonNewMexico, his final cause, and we are both humbled and honored to continue his work.