Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik: Socialist Party USA’s Presidential Candidate

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Roland Dodds

Roland Dodds is an educator, researcher and father who writes about politics, culture and education. He spent his formative years in radical left wing politics, but now prefers the company of contrarians of all political stripes (assuming they aren't teetotalers). He is a regular inactive at Harry's Place and Ordinary Times.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    Soltysik has something going for him which I admire: he answered your questions. (Well, mostly. I’m not sure what “We confront the alt-right with courage” means.)

    On the one hand, he has more latitude to do that than a mainstream party’s candidate: he is obviously cognizant that he isn’t going to serve as President. But more interesting is what he hopes to accomplish.

    I’m still not sure what “worker control of the means of production” looks like; I know what an employee-owned company looks like, and it still has executives and managers and specific control groups. So I guess I’m curious about what a person like Soltysik sees as the manifestation of his platform, and why you and I and pepole in general are supposed to be better off with that than we are now, or at least why we’re better off with his paradigm than the half-a-loaf semi-socialism he accuses Sanders of advocating.Report

    • Avatar Atomic Geography in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      Burt Likko: I’m still not sure what “worker control of the means of production” looks like

      I don’t think he does either. A Vice article on him has this:

      But the great paradox of the Soltysik campaign is that the candidate himself steadfastly refuses to prescribe a method for bringing about that change, except to say that other people have to figure it out for themselves, in something he calls a “bottom-up” revolution

      .

      The SPUSA has this in its platform:

      We are committed to the transformation of capitalism through the creation of a democratic socialist society based on compassion, empathy, and respect as well as the development of new social structures. Socialism will establish a new social and economic order in which workers and community members will take responsibility for and control of their interpersonal relationships, their neighborhoods, their local government, and the production and distribution of all goods and services.

      What I take away rom this is that they are socialist rather than communist ie they do not look to a vanguard party to act in the place of the workers until the party can wither away. Its hard enough to establish a commenting community based on “compassion, empathy, and respect” much less an entire society. Still the effort in both cases leaves us better off.Report

    • Avatar l rockwood in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      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. 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 reason is the job of the leadership party of the over the last two decades. has focused exclusively with the disciplining and expelling its own membership, . 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.Report

  2. Avatar trizzlor
    Ignored
    says:

    Wow, I wonder how the media will react to Soltysik announcing a female VP pick this early in the campaign!

    Seriously though, it’s cool that he sat down for this interview and he seems to be a forthright and passionate guy. But if the plan is to move public opinion I would hope that answers to the Syria question, for example, would be a bit more than just a restatement of the broad party vision without any sort of justification. We can’t go back in time and undo the conditions that lead to ISIS. How are you dealing with ISIS today?Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Does he have an opinion on Mimibros?Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Going into what he’s talking about a little more, I understand that he feels things very strongly and I understand that your interview, by design, was going to be a softball one… but I’d have been interested in his thoughts on Venezuela and what he thinks went wrong.

    I’d be interested in hearing a conversation between him and (the late) Eugene Debs as well. (I mean, I suspect that they differ on a *LOT*. And none of it has to do with economics.)Report

  5. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    “Soltysik: Sanders…also has a strong history of support for war and for the apartheid state of Israel.”

    I/P :rolleyes:

    So, he wants his campaign to be about I/P, then? “No it’s about American workers–” Then why’d he bring it up? “Because he’s showing how Sanders–” Oh, so it is important to him, it’s a meaningful enough way that he differentiates himself from other candidates that he felt it worth mentioning in an unrelated question. “No but that’s not what the campaign is about–” Well then why. Did. He. BRING. IT. UP.

    “We do not see imperialism as part of any sort of socialist program. We also don’t place a higher priority on U.S. lives over our sisters and brothers throughout the world. We are one family.”

    It’s possible to do an awful lot of killing and dying in the name of nonimperialism and one-family, particularly if you don’t place a higher priority on US lives versus others. Like, Americans killed and were killed in Kosovo, and while you can call that business many things you certainly cannot describe it as US imperialism.

    “Perhaps it’s time we stop creating the conditions that contribute toward the development of fundamentalist organizations like ISIS, yes? Perhaps it’s time we stop supporting states who consistently violate international law, who are among the world’s human rights violators, yes?”

    The attempt to “stop supporting states who were consistently among the world’s human rights violators” is exactly what “created the conditions that contributed toward the development of ISIS”!Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, there is a difference between not supporting a state and going out and invading it or training and arming subversives who would undermine it from within. There is a difference between not supporting a state and pressuring other countries to freeze the assets of anyone who does.Report

  6. Avatar Joe Sal
    Ignored
    says:

    Some of the more interesting socialists I have encountered are willing to lay down the social ownership of production. I pitch a individual owner operated system. Sometimes it’s a little confusing, but certain models of socialism allow the idea that personal property should exist. Once I propose that the means of individual production is decentralized to personal property, a few of those folks get on board.

    Too many still adhere to a social binding that must be an overarching theme.Report

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