By Moisés Delgado
Mimi Soltysik lives in Los Angeles and is a member of the Socialist Party. His running mate is Angela Nicole Walker.
How did you become a part of the socialist movement?So much of my life was spent on self-gratification and I was thoroughly disconnected from any idea of community. I mean, I literally had little idea. By the time I reached my early-thirties, I hit a sort of rock bottom. My health, both physical and mental, was in pretty terrible shape, and I felt like I had a choice to make. In a sense, it felt very much like an awakening. I started to learn again, which wasn’t necessarily the easiest thing for me. I often struggled to understand and to make connections. But I took small steps forward. And in doing so, I started to build relationships with folks in my direct community. I also started to see with newfound clarity the incredible suffering in my community. Bit-by-bit, I learned, as many others have, that there is an identifiable source of the suffering: capitalism. I also learned, again, as many others have, that there is a solution: socialism. So, I sought out spaces where someone like me might be able to contribute. I felt like I had an incredible amount of catching up to do, and I really took, and continue to take my participation very seriously.
Why did you decide to run in the 2016 presidential elections? What do you hope to most accomplish through your campaign?As a radical organization in the U.S., we tend to get little mainstream media coverage on the day-to-day. That tends to change a bit during a general election. We also thought that there might be even more media opportunities with the inclusion of Bernie Sanders in the race. In anticipation of that likelihood, we approached all of this with a step-by-step strategy aimed at making a contribution to the swiftening of the revolutionary pace in the U.S.: 1. Use those media opportunities to deliver, with warmth and humanity, an unapologetically radical message. 2. Use social media and technology to complement traditional media. 3. As candidates, make sure we are accessible to those who might reach out with interest after seeing media/social media pieces. 4. Help, in any way possible, to connect those folks, wherever they might be throughout the country, with others already involved with movement work. 5. Acknowledging that many may be far-removed, geographically, from radical activity, use technology to develop face-to-face meeting/collaboration spaces. 6. Open up our campaign spaces in a way that allows others to tell their story, to share their ideas and experiences, helping to humanize movement work and potentially put skeptical/fearful folks new to radical politics at ease. 7. Set up a framework so that any momentum and infrastructure built throughout the campaign is maintained beyond election day. And that’s what we’ve been doing. To be honest, and I’m only speaking for myself, I didn’t know what the response might be. I understand that this might be a somewhat unconventional approach to a presidential campaign, while also acknowledging the possibility that folks might say "who gives a shit?" I am so thankful to say that the response thus far has far exceeded what I envisioned. It’s been an incredibly humbling experience.