Bertrand Russell Peace FoundationRussell1

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. More than fifty years later, our work continues.

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

Resist Much, Obey Little

The Spokesman 116 - A collection in honour of Ken Coates

Spokesman issue 116We dedicate this issue of The Spokesman to Ken Coates, the journal’s editor for forty years, from 1970 to 2010. During those decades he oversaw the publication of more than one hundred issues, notching up the ton in 2008 with this comment about the military industrial complex and NATO:  

‘If we continue to generate another hundred issues of this journal, while we have breath left, we shall resist these embodiments of militarism, and continue to devote our energies to laying the foundations of the peaceful commonwealth which will come into existence with the abolition of war.’

So it is that we begin this little collection with two previously unpublished pieces from Ken’s own hand. They may have been works in progress, but they have all the hallmarks and attributes of luminous Coates’ prose. (Ken was very heartened when he heard that his friend, the playwright Trevor Griffiths, had said ‘no one writes like Ken Coates’.)

Tony Simpson, from his Editorial


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

Turkey versus Democracy

Khatchatur Pilikian is a long-time friend of the Russell Foundation whose insights are greatly appreciated.

His recent paper Turkey versus Democracy given on the 3rd February at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London can be read in full on the Russell Foundation website.

The full article is available as a PDF.

The Russell Tribunal on Palestine can promote peace, truth and reconciliation

The Israel-Palestine situation demands truth and reconciliation. We hope to aid that process.

Desmond Tutu and Michael Mansfield,
Thursday 3 November 2011

RToP ImageOpportunities to break seemingly intractable and deadlocked situations are rare – especially on a scale which has rapidly developed this year from the beleaguered cries of citizenry across North Africa and the Middle East. There is a palpable consensus that the provenance of this movement is lodged firmly in the fundamental prerequisite for meaningful democracy: self-determination. All conventions on human rights have this tenet as a core rationale. Where it is repeatedly denied and suppressed there will never be peace or justice, let alone stability.

The full article is available on our Russell Tribunal page.

Ayse Berktay imprisoned in Turkey

Ayse BerktayAyse was one of the main animators of the World Tribunal on Iraq, which held sessions in Brussels, Tokyo and New York before concluding in Istanbul in 2005. She proposed the Tribunal in 2002, at a meeting of the European Network for Peace and Human Rights, which the Russell Foundation convened in the European Parliament in Brussels. She works as a translator, and her Turkish translation of Black Beauty has been widely acclaimed. 

Ken Coates

Ken CoatesMany spontaneous tributes to Ken Coates were published when his death was announced in June 2010.

We reprinted, in Reinventing Socialism, a small selection, together with excerpts from those made at Ken’s funeral in Chesterfield, which was attended by more than 200 people.


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Russell Tribunal on Palestine

“No Peace Without Justice”
The London Session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine

By Frank Barat and Michael Mansfield QC

Countless United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions have been passed and violated; The Goldstone Report has been attacked and dismissed and the recent UNHRC fact finding Mission on the Freedom Flotilla incident, condemning Israel’s actions in the strongest possible terms, has been rejected as biased by Israel and was hardly mentioned in the higher spheres of the UN. The reason most often given to explain this lack of political action being that ‘it will harm the peace process.’

We are made to believe that the Israel/Palestine conflict is a never ending one and that, when it comes to this issue, International Law is irrelevant.

But civil society knows better. This conflict is about International Law and nothing else. Not harming the peace process means not harming more than 17 years (from the Oslo agreement in 1993 until now) of settlement building, bombing, murder and assassination, Israeli army aggression, land grab, US vetoes, dispossessions and humiliation of the Palestinians living in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

Civil society also knows that under a facade of bland statements ‘condemning’ Israel’s actions, the EU, the USA and the whole international community are in fact actively complicit in those crimes.

That’s where the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RToP) comes in.