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Craig Barnes

Honored October, 2014

Craig Barnes


Craig Barnes is a visionary. He never loses sight of how things ought to be. As a scholar, educator and inspiring leader, Craig has dedicated his life to raising consciousness and working on issues ranging from racial equality to gender politics, international relations, and the future well being of our country’s democracy. He believes in the rights, the power, and the responsibility of each individual citizen. Craig has contributed to  community--near and far-- as a journalist, radio host, award winning author as well as playwright, story teller, and international mediator/negotiator.  The breadth and depth of his talents and accomplishments are staggering.  Although they only scratch the surface, these important events of Craig’s background deserve noting.

As a trial lawyer in Denver, Craig fought for African Americans’ civil rights and won in a landmark case which went successfully to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also spent 5 years working for Denver’s nurses to get wages equal to their male counterparts. Sadly, although the judge said it was the best tried case he had ever seen, he ruled against the women.

Labeled “a world peacemaker’ in the 1980s Craig was a core member of the  Beyond War movement, a group of activists who influenced national conversation about nuclear war. 

Craig spent two years working back and forth between Moscow and California, engaging scientists in the West in the Academy of Sciences in the Kremlin.   He held the position of executive editorof their jointly written book Entitled Breakthrough, EMERGING NEW THINKING,  dealing witht the probability of nuclear war and the nuclear winter if the two countries stayed on their then present course.  SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE SHULTZ AND SOVIET LEADER MIKHAIL Gorbachev BOTH ENDORSED THE BOOK AND THEREAFTER GORBACHEV WENT TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND BEGAN TO RATCHET DOWN THE COLD WAR. 

In the 1990’s Craig facilitated talks in the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan aimed at ending the ethnice cleansing that had broken out at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union. He  later NEGOTIATED A MULTILATERAL WATER TREATY BETWEEN FOUR FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS IN CENTRAL ASIA ALLOCATING THE WATERS OF THE FAMOUS SYR DARYA RIVER THAT RUNS FROM CHINA TO THE ARAL SEA.

Craig’s  Elizabethan trilogy plays, Queen Elizabeth I, King’s Yellow, and the Last Tudor were written in a modern Shakesperean lyric. They received standing ovations in their Santa Fe performances. During the growing concern about the war in Iraq, Craig wrote and directed Ed Asher in a staged reading of a trial drama, A Nation Deceived, American’s First Presidential Felony Trial.

He’s been called the Southwests’ Bill Moyers. Craig was a regular commentator on National Public Radio and now features national progressive speakers on his local weekly radio show, “Our Times with Craig Barnes.”  Craig facilitates provocative discussions on the environment, politics, economy, and society. 

Craig has served on a variety of local boards such as the The Land Use Resource Center, Santa Fe Conservation Trust, Santa Fe Girls School, Santa Fe Railyard Community Corporation, Georgia O’Keefe Women of Distinction Committee. He IS a member of the National Common Cause Governing Board that focuses on preserving our democracy.

His award winning books include Growing up True, his memoir of prairie life in Colorado, and In Search of the Lost Feminine, Decoding the Myths that Radically Reshaped Civilization. Craig’s most recent book is Democracy At the Crossroad, Princes, Peasants, Poets and President in the Struggle for (and against) the Rule of Law.

As an outgrowth of discussion groups about his Crossroads book, Craig founded We Are People Here! a grass roots Santa Fe organization. Its purpose is to educate people about the politically corrupting influenced of the international banking cartels and to support Public Banking as a way to revitalize and regain a balance of power in our economy, our social infrastructure, and democracy. 

Craig supported establishing the Office of Peace building in the New Mexico Legislature. Craig said “This initiative is critical. Peace is so much harder than war.  To survive now, we must study its economics, learn its signals, teach its techniques, open the heart of it, and raise the species to a whole new level of discipline, courage and awareness.  There is no way we can say no.”

 Craig’s accomplishments notwithstanding, everyone raves about his style, who he is and how he is in the world. He is an elegant and thoughtful friend, a poetic soul, He has an easy manner and a passion for life and all who are living on this planet. Craig has a profound awareness of history, global conditions, and humaneness: no human condition or situation avoids his scrutiny and open discussion. He has a way of drawing a person out and esteeming them not with flattery, but by his attention, kindness, and admiration. Craig does not flinch from conflict; he says, “Yes, let’s talk!” Then he intently listens as if you are the most important person with the most important question and message. Quiet, calm, humble, down to earth, nonjudgmental, he is funny and witty, endearing and charming.  He is just a great guy, friendly, and a family man.



Story by Nancy Dahl

Photo © 2009 by Genevieve Russell