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.

Substandard – Eyewitness reports Trident

In a 12,000 word report, Able Seaman William McNeilly details his experiences onboard HMS Victorious, one of the Royal Navy’s four nuclear powered and nuclear armed submarines that sail from their homeport in Faslane, Scotland. McNeilly also probes security at Faslane itself, and finds it badly wanting. The words ‘factual’ and ‘courageous’ come to mind on reading AB McNeilly’s account of his personal experiences at Faslane and his extended patrol on HMS Victorious. For the first time in some 30 years, we have a submariner’s eyewitness account of how the Royal Navy struggles to operate a highly sophisticated and massively destructive nuclear armoury onboard ageing boats with insufficient experienced personnel struggling with a chronic shortage of spare parts. Should McNeilly’s account be taken at face value? When it appeared, on 17 May 2015, the Russell Foundation immediately consulted Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret’d).' We publish both McNeilly's and Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret’d) accounts of Trident in this issue.

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.