The North Star interviews Mimi Soltysik, 2016 SPUSA candidate for POTUS

by Curtis Hansoni on February 16, 2016

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Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik
Why run for president now?
Mimi: As a revolutionary organization in the United States, it’s not as if the media is regularly banging down our door for interview requests. That changes a bit during the general election. And, for obvious reasons, there’s an added interest in the socialist/radical perspective this time around. So, why not use that interest and the media coverage we might receive to offer a bottom-up, community-focused, revolutionary perspective? Why not use that interest and coverage to support an effort that seeks to facilitate community/local involvement in movement-oriented work throughout the country? We understand and acknowledge that it might look and sound a bit different from what folks expect, and we think that’s okay.

Has your campaign done any outreach with Bernie supporters? What’s that like?
 Mimi: In the sense that there are Bernie supporters who are our neighbors, co-workers, fellow students, yes. Frequently. And in those environments, the outreach has been pretty positive and there is reason to think that outreach will lead to relationships that extend beyond November. It’s a bit different than working to intervene within the Sanders campaign, to steer it in a particular direction. To us, this is about the dialog and the relationships that might develop throughout and beyond the election.

What is your assessment of the position of the SPusa currently holds within the American Left?
 Mimi: We are one organization among many. We have a statement of principles and we have a platform that differentiates us, to varying degrees, from many of the other organizations. That doesn’t mean we feel as though we’re “better than” the others or that we have any interest in seeing the sectarianism continue among the U.S. Left. We enjoy the collaboration with many of the other orgs on the U.S. Left. Of course, there are reasons why I choose the Socialist Party USA, but someone else might feel another organization is a better fit, and that’s cool. I think that folks who are following the Campaign will see that we not only enjoy the discussion with folks from across the U.S. Left, we also enjoy the friendship.

Where do you see left-wing politics heading? 
 Mimi: My opinion, for whatever it’s worth, is that the floor is opening up for so many voices that have been oppressed, and those voices refuse to be stifled, censored, and marginalized. I do believe that those voices will be leading the way. While I think that might be uncomfortable for folks who have held the mic for an awfully long time, I think it’s freaking wonderful.

Where is the the SPusa heading?
Mimi: I think that we are here to contribute to the revolutionary movement in the U.S. And, I think that our folks do a really good job of creating an inclusive environment that helps to make those who are curious about involvement feel a bit more at ease. I mean, we like to dance, we like to have a good time, we like to laugh. A lot. I think that’s really important. I’ve seen a few posts here and there about the “tattooed” punks, “adolescents”, etc. in the SPUSA. While posts like that may have meant to be condescending, I think it’s rather complimentary. We are a working class organization, and that’s going to look and sound like the working class. Good.
Is a broad coalition or united front of left parties doable?
Mimi: While I think that some of the theoretical and strategic differences among some of the organizations may necessitate different organizations, I do think that we’ll see more and more coalition work as we move forward. In my experience, folks seem more and more willing to work together on projects and more and more willing to support another, regardless of their organizational affiliation. That’s badass.

What’s the one thing you would like people to take away from this campaign?
Mimi: It would be amazing to see folks feel like they can do this, like they can contribute locally, like it’s okay to take a step forward. Empowerment!
 
Do you believe socialism at the ballot box is attainable? If not, what role do you see for campaigns like yours?
Mimi: Well, for a campaign like ours, it’s what happens before and after election day that’s important. We know we aren’t going to win, we know we’re not going to be on the ballot in many states, and we also don’t believe that socialism should be imposed from the top-down. Socialism is about the people, not about a candidate. The people will lead, not a candidate.
Mimi and Angela, the 2016 SPUSA Presidential ticket

Mimi poses with Angela Nicole Walker, his 2016 running mate.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Winger February 24, 2016 at 1:12 am

This article doesn’t mention one of the most interesting things Mimi is doing. He has filed a constitutional lawsuit against the California law that says candidates can’t have their party label on the ballot unless they are members of a qualified party. The case is pending in federal court in Los Angeles and has ACLU sponsorship.

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Oliver Steinberg March 15, 2016 at 9:02 am

If you ever go anywhere near Terre Haute Indiana, be sure to stop at the Gene Debs house, which is a national historic landmark.

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Cliff Fayette May 2, 2016 at 5:50 pm

And if you listen carefully you can even hear Debs spinning in his grave over the toothless irrelevant reformist trash heap the Socialist Party has become.

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L Rockwood May 12, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Ask Mimi Soltysik why there are no other Mimi’s in the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA). By that I mean no other former National Chairs, former presidential candidates, or former candidates for national office. Also why did the membership plummet by over 50% during his tenure as national chair of the party? The reason is simple, the only job is the sophomoric leadership party has undertaken of the over the last two decades has been disciplining and expelling its own membership, . Ask him why the most prominent member of the party, David McReynolds , the first gay man to run for the Presidency, was disciplined and pushed out of the party. Members of the New York City local played a major role in the first days of Occupy Wall Street and were among the first arrested. Why has all put one of those activists left the party?

The SPUSA leadership is authoritarian in the tradition of Stalin and not democratic socialists in the tradition of Eugene Debs. Unlike other Maoist / Leninist / Stalinist parties, they lie about it. If you want to vote for an authoritarian party, all means do it. But vote for one whose “policing” class is open about their lack of democracy.

Like the chancellor UC Davis, Linda Katehi, the sophomoric leadership of SPUSA has a new job, to constantly scrub the internet to remove evidence of its toxic internal culture and thuggery. I have never made a physical threat against anyone in my life, and the Stalinists character assassins know I am not doing that or ever done that. All I am doing is promising them full time unpaid employment in their dank Montclair NJ basements for the rest of their lives.

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