Edward Upward: Resignation from the Communist Party of Great Britain

Scope and Content

Relevant left wing publications, documentary evidence, and fictional passages in draft, deliberately retained in a single folder by Upward, that, taken together, provide both the substance and the context of his resignation - and the resignation of his wife, Hilda Upward - from the Communist Party of Great Britain.

1. Two local Communist Party Membership lists (one an updated version of the other), giving names and addresses (SW London postcodes) of some 50-60 individuals. One of the lists is dated 23 May 1938. Both lists include Edward and Hilda Upward as individual Members (3 sheets, typescript, with amendments in pencil).

2. 'Political Statement made by Hilda Upward' (carbon typescript, 3 sheets). The opening paragraph announces the theme of her statement: 'Does Lenin's view of the necessity of destroying the capitalist state machine before building Socialism still apply? In my view, definitely yes.'

3. 'Statement by E. Upward to Dulwich Branch Cttee on Sept. 30th 1947' (typescript, 3 sheets). Upward's statement begins: 'During the last two years I have become convinced that we as a party - in spite of the excellent work we have done - are making one fundamental mistake which if persisted in can only lead us to disaster. What is that mistake? It is the view, recently expresed in Pollitt's Looking Ahead, that we can begin to advance towards socialism in Britain without first breaking up the existing monopoly-capitalist state machine, with a revolutionary upheaval, that we can begin to build up socialism by a series of gradual reforms here and now in imperialist Britain.'

4. 'For Congress Discussion, 1948' (3 sheets carbon typescript). The text reiterates the position presented in the two statements above, and continues to take issue with Pollitt. Upward writes: 'But why should we suppose that Lenin's teachings on the State are no longer valid? Post-war developments everywhere provide excellent proof of their validity. In no country do we find transition to Socialism (i.e. construction for the benefit of the people) unless the state machine is firmly in the hands of the people. Why should Britain be an exception?'

5. Brief letter (2 March 1949) from Jean Shapiro to Edward Upward: 'at the Branch Meeting last Friday it was agreed to accept your resignation from the Communist Party'.

6. Draft passages (in autograph) from Chapters 2 and 3 of Upward, The Rotten Elements [c 1963].

For contemporaneous left wing publications, particularly Pollitt, Looking Ahead (1947), see Add MS 89002/3/12.

Conditions Governing Access


Not Public Record(s)