Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation

Welcome to the website of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.  Launched in 1963, the Foundation was established to carry forward Russell's work for peace, human rights and social justice.  Forty years later, it continues to do so.

Here, you will also find information about our journal, The Spokesman, and links to our publications website Spokesman Books.

Underwater Battlespace
The Spokesman 131


Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to threaten to use nuclear weapons excites attention around the world. In September 2015, shortly after he was elected by a huge majority as Leader of the Labour Party in Britain, Mr Corbyn told the BBC: ‘I am opposed to the use of nuclear weapons. I am opposed to the holding of nuclear weapons. I want to see a nuclear-free world. I believe it is possible.’

New elements emerge in the public debate, albeit somewhat belatedly. In January 2013, the Defense Science Board of the US Department of Defense warned that the United States and its allies ‘cannot be confident’ that their defence systems would be able to survive an ‘attack from a sophisticated and well-resourced opponent utilising cyber-capabilities in combination with all of their military and intelligence capabilities’. What does that imply for nuclear weapons?

In addition to probing Trident further in the current issue of The Spokesman, developing our coverage in issues 127 and 129, we examine some other key domestic issues which Jeremy Corbyn and a re-invigorated Labour Party now confront. These include the Conservative government’s sustained attack against trade unions, and how unions might respond, as set out by Len McCluskey of UNITE. Meanwhile, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady celebrates Mike Cooley’s pioneering work on humancentred systems, keeping in mind how work changes in the 21st century.

Tony Simpson from his Editorial


  This new issue of The Spokesman can be bought from our sister website.

Dexter Whitfield seminar

Dexter gave a talk on ‘Capitalist dynamics reconfiguring the state: alternatives to privatising public services’ at The University of Nottingham on Wednesday 16 September 2015. A recording of his talk from the event is available via the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSJG) website.

Ken Coates Memorial Lecture

Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, gave the inaugural Ken Coates Memorial Lecture at The University of Nottingham on Wednesday 3 June 2015. The lecture was on the subject 'The future of the left – where next for Britain's labour movement?' Watch the video recording here.

Ken Coates died on 27 June 2010, in his eightieth year. He was a prolific author whose work included the Penguin Classic, Poverty: The Forgotten Englishmen, about the St Ann’s district of Nottingham, co-authored with Richard Silburn. The Times commented: “Writing with compassion, style, wit and an almost complete lack of jargon, (they) present us with inescapable facts which must remould our thinking and our actions.”

During the 1960s, Bertrand Russell invited Ken Coates to work with him at the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation. This was to lead to location of the Foundation’s offices in Nottingham, where they remain to this day. Ken Coates edited The Spokesman, the Foundation’s journal, for 40 years; he also directed the Foundation’s activities, such as launching the Appeal for European Nuclear Disarmament in 1980, which ultimately led to the removal of a category of nuclear weapons from Europe in accordance with the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. That significant disarmament achievement is once again under threat as international tensions worsen. Ken also established the Institute for Workers’ Control in the 1960s, which organised a series of influential conferences during the following decades, several of which took place in Nottingham, addressing aspects of industrial and political democracy. Tony Benn was one among many political associates who participated.

Many people will remember Ken for his adult education classes at the Workers’ Education Association in Shakespeare Street and elsewhere. He was an industrial tutor for many years, and became a Special Professor of Adult Education at the University of Nottingham when he was elected to the European Parliament in 1989. During the next ten years, he chaired the Parliament’s Human Rights and Employment Committees. His work for full employment and a New Deal for Europe, in conjunction with Jacques Delors and Stuart Holland, continues to attract attention in the current era of austerity and mass unemployment in many European countries.