Every time the mighty International Bolshevik Tendency merits a mention on the UK Left Network or Leftist Trainspotters discussion forums, I feel compelled to comment. I cannot help myself. Micro groups like the IBT are just so, well ... charming.
In far left circles I suppose the publication of the IBT's infrequent journal, 1917 is something of an event: they are probably the only Leninist group whose chief publication only comes out twice a year. Presumably this is because their cadres are buried deep within the labour movement organising our class and seeing off the influence of other ostensibly revolutionary organisations. But you wouldn't know it from the latest 1917, which has just hit the interweb. There's lashings and lashings of sectarian boilerplate on offer but zero information about IBT activities. Even the one piece dedicated to this - a report of their world congress that took place in April last year(!) - spends the bulk of the article attacking other Trotskyists!
Almost without exception the ultra left vent their spleens about their ever-so-correct revolutionary programmes and lecture those groups - principally the SP and SWP - who actively try to win a mass audience for socialist politics.
The Leninism the IBT and their ilk claim the mantle of is an activist philosophy. The point cannot be clearer: the building of revolutionary socialist parties demands disciplined political action. But this theory is divorced from their practice, which is no different from the behaviour lefty students get up to in the seminar room. This is all one can do if you hold ra-ra-revolutionary views. Because reality doesn't match up to their perspectives, scholasticism and denunciation of other lefts sort of makes sense. Their perspectives cannot act as a guide to interventions in the class struggle, so best leave well alone.
The sociological conundrum for me is how this sort of "activism" not only sustains the commitment of a very small group of cadre, but can also appear attractive to a certain species of leftist. I suppose it's this question - the enigma of ultra left existence - that lies at the root of the fascination.