A Conversation With SPUSA Presidential Candidate, Mimi Soltysik


Bryer Sousa:  Mr. Soltysik, it is a sincere privilege to discuss your social, political, and economic sympathies, beyond that of the word “socialism,” a word that has been diminished of its semantic value, or lack thereof, as discussed in greater depth by Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT who has not only the background of a linguist, but was a hard line activist during the Vietnam War, amongst other noteworthy causes. “Socialism” has been abused and manipulated to the point that one can no longer gather what it represents. Where I subscribe to a blending of libertarian socialism and anarcho-syndicalism and, after looking at some of your positions, I am forced to surmise that you are just using an adjective-less “socialism” to mean decentralized, democratic, worker control of the means of production.

To return to the abuse of the word “socialism,” such a linguistic assault has been consistent whenever there exists a power dynamic between the oppressed and an oppressor. “Anarchism” has gone through a similar abuse, during which we observe the American objectivists and American libertarians steal the very word “libertarian” from the Leftist French anarcho-communist Joseph Déjacque, thus preventing us from communicating in a semantically consistent fashion with comrades in Spain, for example. This deformation of the word socialism took place during an interview with CNBC, as it was subjected to a prideful apologist for capitalism, while you tried to proclaim that socialism, in terms of USSR totalitarianism, is not what you are advocating for.

To digress, I am hoping that we can shine a light upon the Socialist Party USA, in terms of giving a little bit more attention to a “minor political party.”

Mimi Soltysik: Thank you for the opportunity to have this conversation. My name is Mimi Soltysik and I am the Socialist Party USA’s presidential candidate, along with Angela Nicole Walker from Milwaukee; in other words, we are the Socialist Party USA’s ticket. The reason we run, even though many folks will say “Why run when you can’t win?” is simply a matter of how we define “win.” Of course, we know that we are not going to win on Election Day, with respect to the total number of votes, but what we advocate for, the idea of socialism being something that is built at the local level, or the community level, isn’t something that you would want to implement from the top-down, i.e. by way of becoming the President of the United States. Socialism must follow from a democratic process.

So, the idea was that, as you stated earlier, we could choose to look at ourselves on a technical level by viewing ourselves as a minor party, or we could view ourselves as a revolutionary party. On the day-to-day basis, the mainstream media doesn’t pay much mind to socialist parties, but that changes a bit during a presidential election. The media will come around a bit more and, thus, our hope concerns the unprecedented inclusion of Bernie Sanders in the public eye. When such opportunities arose, we would express our ideals, which are explicitly socialist, when there was a hope that people would respond to those ideas. When they did, we prepared an approach to dealing with the responses.

Firstly, we figured that folks would respond with fear as they speculated upon the potential costs and consequences that they may experience if they were to become involved with revolutionary politics in the U.S. When that occurred, we did what we could to address those fears, ultimately aiming to ensure that interested persons could feel more comfortable. Secondly, if folks were curious or interested, we would help plug them into existing movements, thus aiding them in making connections in hopes that we could contribute to the resurgence of thriving communities, which would eventually be prepared to employ a strategic plan around the overthrow of capitalism.

Bryer Sousa: Which country currently has, or previously had exhibited the purest model for socialism in your mind, and why do you believe that they were or are able to achieve that? In other words, if we were to run through this question from the perspective of radical leftism, with the consideration of adjective-less socialism, do you think that there has ever been a model that should be observed?

Mimi Soltysik: I think all models should be observed. We tend to not look to one specific moment in history and say that it is the model that we need to follow. We look at all models; all of which become part of how we approach the future. I think that we also recognize that much of what we are talking about, hasn’t been seen yet. To me, this is one of the most exciting aspects of our work: the idea that people are going to engage in this collective effort, learning from one another as we progress, and figuring out a way to push forward while incorporating history and applying it to the future.

There are certainly moments throughout history that are inspiring and offer a lot to learn from, but in terms of looking at one particular effort, where we conjure that such an effort lays out the blue print in exact terms for everyone to follow, I would say that there has ever existed such a thing. Again, there are moments that are tremendously inspiring, for example the Russian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, and the Black Panther Party as well as the Zapatistas. Even then, there remains so much more to incorporate into how we might approach this. Today, I draw inspiration from the Black Lives Matter movement and I believe that we are committing a disservice if we ignore these moments and exclude them from how we see a way forward.

Furthermore, the challenges are so daunting, that we really have to continue saying all options are on the table while we are preparing to organize communities, and as we consider what it is that we are facing and the unlikeliness of making progress without community coordination.

Bryer Sousa: As someone who strives to serve as an activist, I am compelled to ask if the lack of communication and solidarity with other conglomerates who maintain political and social philosophies that are axiomatic comparable to your own, weigh on your mind? That is not to say that there does not exist important differences between the organized groups and the Socialist Party USA, but can you highlight any efforts being made to quench those differences?

I also suspect that if someone is curious about socialism now, with Sanders’ emergence, they may google socialist groups in the US, and consequently find the Party for Socialism and Liberation; the Socialist Party USA; the Socialist Alternative; the Democratic Socialists of America; etc. What do you think could help bridge these gaps, in terms of actually organizing, given the discrepancies between each group?

Mimi Soltysik: That is a good question. There is certainly variation among the American Left, and the Left generally, which is not an abstraction. It is quite real. However, for Angela, myself, and the Socialist Party USA, collaboration is of essential importance. Working in coalitions is vitally instrumental, and such co-operation could follow from simply having a willingness to work with one another on common projects. Frankly, such projects are occurring as we speak. In some cases, it’s not as big of an issue as it may outwardly appear, given that we personally do not seek to make it an overly conflated issue.

My local Socialist Party Los Angeles chapter gladly collaborates on projects with organizations within the Left. A few years ago, we put on a socialist conference, which drew about 330 people, where we worked with the International Socialist Organization, among other groups, and it served as a great experience. New relationships were developed, and the issues that one might anticipate from our collaborative project weren’t an issue. We are now friends with a lot of people that we met by way of that experience. If people from other organizations don’t want to work with you due to the fact that you are in another organization, I guess that is their problem. It is most unfortunate, but I choose to believe that we would all, in some way, prefer to be somebody who maintains open arms to those who reach out.

In terms of building community, in light of the point you have made, we hold an event called Radical Ruckus, where every few months we gather with fellow socialists and the American Left to focus on the construction of personal relations with each other. It stands to reason that if you are friends with somebody, having developed a more social relationship, it becomes much more difficult to conclude that you do not want to work with someone because they are simply in another organization. By meeting with one another as comrades and friends, I can’t stress to those looking to join us, that such divisions fade away and ultimately lead to organic partnerships.

Now, perhaps, if an organization sees their role as vanguard, it may be more difficult to work with them during joint operations because they see themselves and their role as being a leader, while really they are acting as an opportunist. That would illustrate a different scenario. I can only speak for myself and share ideas with those I work with, but I do think that by and large, many of us are willing to work with one another.

Bryer Sousa: From our conversation thus far, it seems as though having different organizations is okay as long as they realize that they hold a common cause. This notion may also enable the appropriate degree of individuality and self-determination to brew, as it had within socialist, communist, and anarchist circles prior to the Russian Revolution, which was advocated for within the International Workingmen’s Association, where persons from the hills of Switzerland, or Polish agitators, and underground activists in St. Petersburg brought a diverse set of labor-centered views to the attention of the members. In doing so, they knew that they were anti-feudalism and anti-serfdom, but they did not know how to frame it outside of the common cause.

Mimi Soltysik: There certainly are plenty of avenues. With the advent of social media, communication and coordination is probably as easy as it has ever been. To not take advantage of such platforms, for the benefit of all, would be a real shame. We spend an ardent amount of time trying to use technology to try to help those in need. Depending upon how one approaches the world, it could be thought of as a fairly exciting time.

Bryer Sousa: Personally, I have been struggling with Sanders’ announcement concerning his run for the DNC presidential nomination. It seems as though Sanders has garnered a lot of momentum for the S-word. A word, which if employed ten years ago, would have attracted ridicule in most social spheres. Now there are polls showing that millennials find “socialism” more favorable to “capitalism.” We haven’t seen something like that in quite some time. Ironically, a writer for the New York Times talked to an academic who rightly pointed out that what Sanders means by “socialism” isn’t the same as what you claim to embody, and is instead more of a New Deal Democrat. According to the individual contacted by the New York Times, Sanders is a “Democratic Socialist Capitalist,” since he still believes, for example, in private property. However, that does not put the worker control in a central position that couples democratic principles. How would you like to exploit said momentum, given that Sanders has confused the definition of the S-word?

Mimi Soltysik: I actually agree, that if we judge him upon what he has said publicly, he represents the principles of a New Deal Democrat, or a social democrat. Therefore, I want people to learn of a U.S. Left that is prepared to engage, as well as communicate with the entirety of the folks who have been inspired by the Sanders campaign. Moreover, a U.S. Left that continuously makes itself available to disillusioned liberals, for example. To engage in these essential dialogues, we must be willing to sacrifice relationships, as we openly communicate with friends, family, and co-workers about the pressing issues of our time. Even though people may disagree in terms of terminology, being prepared to have such a dialogue and establish relationships, that sustain well beyond this election cycle is of great importance.

As you mentioned, it has been a long time in this country since the word has garnered this level of interest. You mentioned polling data that shows how your generation responds to the word, which is truly incredible. While we may have differences in terms of definitions – even though those differences are significant as well as crucial – we certainly mustn’t say to Sanders supporters “screw you” at all. Instead, we have to reflect and act upon this rare moment of dialogue. Once more, illustrating a reason as to why we run.

Within SPUSA, there are sincerely intense discussion concerning this moment. Being prepared to have such a striking conversation leads me to hope that much of the U.S. Left is not only prepared to engage, but is actively engaging with persons as we speak.

Bryer Sousa: It is certainly a terrifying sentiment to think that this momentum could be lost, even though a candidate sparked this wave of political engagement, and is most likely not going to be the nominee unless something extreme transpires. With the rise of an authoritarian candidate within the Republican Party who embodies a political formulation similar to earlier periods of European nationalism, and a dire identity crisis within the U.S. Left that has been fueled by the unraveling’s of neoliberalism where we have massive trade deals and allow for workers to compete with fellow workers globally, we are finished being spoon-fed the ideological claptrap and are looking to alternatives. Just look at the educational trend, where public schools are being replaced with charter schools, or the Flint water crisis, and the direct result of pinning U.S. states under the thumb of corporate influence that drives states to provide public financing, by way of tax breaks, for the purpose of preventing the legal fictions from leaving. In terms of allowing unfettered capital to infiltrate every corner of our lives, now on a globalized or international scale, I believe that this leads nicely into gathering your thoughts on “Brexit?” Tariq Ali even called for a “Lexit.” Your thoughts?

Mimi Soltysik: Wow, this reminds me of when we talk to folks in the UK, as they ask us to explain the rise of Donald Trump. In doing so, we have to certainly acknowledge what a tragedy he is and how incredibly terrible it is to see him gain traction. At the same time, and you sort of touched on this when you mentioned the effect of neoliberalism upon working persons, folks looking to choices like him is so indicative of that pain. The environment can certainly be somewhat terrifying, for the expression of the pain that the alienated populace in the U.S. subscribes to some fascist and nationalist sentiments. Right now, as I try to cope, I consider what has happened with Brexit a national affair. As we look at things in context, such as the effects of austerity in regards to climate change, for example, it cannot be stressed how profound this moment is. Angela and I talk about this a lot within the campaign, ultimately concluding that solidarity and expressions of support within our communities is of grave importance. In other words, the gravity of this situation cannot be over stated.

Bryer Sousa: Indeed, it feels as though the clock is about to strike twelve.

Mimi Soltysik: You know, there is a part of me that looks at the world in its entirety and hence realizes that for so many members of our globalized society, the doomsday clock has already struck twelve and has been that way for so long. Then, as I think about climate change, in terms of the planet as a whole, the science behind climate change is not hyperbolic or sensationalized. The prospect for a reasonable existence in the future is bleak. I am also not sure if humanity is going to be able to address this in a way that successfully saves the planet. But, what I do know is that the alternative to fighting against anthropogenic climate change is certainly assured destruction, whereas fighting permits a slight chance to have a reasonable existence. It starts by conversing with you to try to figure all of this out, for it can quickly become overwhelming.

 Bryer Sousa: Overwhelming even in terms of the current effects climate change is having on Syrians, Indians, and Pakistanis, for example, where droughts of purely awesome power have contributed to the number of persons seeking refuge, since they are forced to huddle under the umbrella of urban communities that may be overrun with groups such as Daesh who are looking to camouflage themselves, and driven farmers to take their own lives out of despair. Tangentially, it should be recognized that I used Daesh – for I am inclined to think that while religion can serve as a motivation to kill innocent members of the population, the chaos that has been brought about in the Middle East, by the West, is to blame. That is, on the matter of Daesh, I am compelled to say that you would agree that our climate activity is coupled with our hawkish and illegal foreign policy, which utilizes an assassination program employing drones, and thus garners the creation of such fundamentalist and heinous groups.

Mimi Soltysik: This leads me to think of intersectionality, as we look at Brexit and Daesh, where none of the current affairs exist in isolation. In other words, there is a connection linking cause and effect in ways that are sometimes unpredictable. Thus, it is wonderful to acknowledge that while at the same time acknowledge the human elements outside of the academic inquiry, such as how do we fight? What does that look like? What is our next step? There is so much work to be done … it is incredible.

Bryer Sousa: It is incredible. In some ways it is uplifting, when we view it as a call to action, even though that call has been there for so long, it appears as though there exists a degree of social capital that can be built upon.

Mimi Soltysik: What is the alternative to inaction, at this point?

Bryer Sousa: If I may also add, is inaction just as morally egregious, if not worse, than those carrying out the injustices of the world? In other words, it takes a degree of privilege to hold a contemporary sense of nihilism; would you agree?

Mimi Soltysik: I am glad to see you bring up the use of the word nihilism, for I have been discussing this notion with friends and family quite frequently. For so many folks, who are confronted with this information – let us take climate change to highlight this observation – or what the forecasts of the future are, if someone feels nihilistic, based on that information, I get it. Not only is the burden of the information heavy to bare, but the prospects simply do not look good. To be blunt, the odds of emerging out of the challenges that we are currently faced with are pretty slim. I sympathize when people say that they have to take it one day at a time. For me personally, I feel that action is the response and direction that I need to take, for who knows what is going to happen tomorrow.

Bryer Sousa: Sometimes it may very well be the case that the nihilism needs to settle, until one realizes that there is no use in doing “nothing.” For one thing, nihilism almost blossoms from a place of relative privilege where we will not feel the immediate effects of climate change, living in a developed nation, but farmers in various regions of the developing world are experiencing suicide epidemics as a correlational function of severe droughts, for example.

Mimi Soltysik: I think that you have laid out a fair idea. I actually believe these conversations to be universally important. Conversing about the feeling of nihilism, such expressions allow for folks feeling similarly to at least understand that they are not alone and can therefore translate said feeling into action. Fear and uncertainty also play a significant role as people look for answers. I am sure Angela also believes that if we are going to garner answers, it is going to be collectively, by way of all of us. It is not going to be because of a candidate, an elected official, or from the system. Rather, these conversations feed into action.

Bryer Sousa: Your assertion that conversation can prime action leads quite well into the next idea: that idea being focused upon some of the writing Christopher Hedges has authored. Hedges was a war correspondent for The New York Times who commemorated the illegal invasions in the Middle East by delivering a near sermon-like address opposing the military operations to a class of graduating college students. In other words, he passionately let loose, if you will, with such intensity that his writings dramatically changed thereafter. As a self-proclaimed social activist and writer, Hedges recently gave a lecture that called for massive amounts of civil disobedience, on a grand scale. Yet, it frightens me to think that what he considers to be useful disobedience comes in the form of organizing with Jill Stein of the Green Party, for example, as they “marched on the DNC.” Unfortunately, they are not in the streets, protesting by way of effective tactics or about matters much more important than the DNC’s National Convention. It seems that the Socialist Party USA can give a platform to put our bodies on the line and actually be willing to sacrifice them once we realize that there are constant forces trying to strip away our fundamental rights, whether it be in regards to climate change or another noteworthy cause.

Mimi Soltysik: I think that for so many folks, the march of the DNC for them, its happening every day. In so many of our oppressed communities, the folks are doing the hard work every day. It’s not the work you’re going to see the media cover, but they are directly responding to challenges in front of them and strategically planning around such oppression, which I believe to be critical. Here in LA, we work with a coalition called the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition. They directly confront, in very substantive ways such as direct action, confronting LAPD surveillance as well as police brutality. The coalition is incredibly active and making progress even though the work is hard. We meet; it’s centered in Skid Row, in LA.

Bryer Sousa: I am so glad you brought my attention to Skid Row. Where I am on the East Coast, many associates might not know of the location you are mentioning. I have been following Skid Row with heartache for some time and therefore would love it if you would elaborate on that.

Mimi Soltysik: Absolutely. My local Socialist Party is part of that coalition, the work, we meet in Skid Row and its made up of the community. So the community makes the choices, the community does the reporting that guides the action. The community confronts the LAPD Police Commission, Chief Police Charlie Becj. It’s intense and it is very hard work. Like I said, without the work, it would be like the march on the DNC. However, out here it’s happening every day except the press isn’t going to cover it and the people that are fighting back are doing so because they have to. They can’t breathe. Their survival depends on it. I think that those spaces, that’s what gives me hope. That’s what progress I think is going to happen. Folks that are prepared to engaged in those spaces that are identifying pressure points within the system and are prepared to plan around addressing those points and are also prepared to implement the alternative. You identify the point within the system, you do your strategic planning and you address that point. On the back end, you build up with the alternative structure. So if your goal is the abolition of the police, which you see as inherently racist, as well as oppressive, you have got to attack and you have to be prepared. What do you have to do to dismantle that system, how do you go about it? How can you implement an alternative? Like I said before, none of this happens without community. For this to be democratic, and for us to incorporate all the voices of the community, I think a move like the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition should serve as a really wonderful example of how this can work and how it will work.

Bryer Sousa: The amount of work that goes in is so profound. It’s difficult that all labor struggles have been built upon the fact that you’re not going to be receiving some sort of instant gratification for the work that you’re doing. If we talk about periods prior to the Russian Revolution, there was a massive campaign concerned with the spreading of labor based social anarchist literature, in Russia and translating the works into the language. No one took credit for that. It was hard work, sacrificing nights after laboring as a surf for the entirety of a day.

Mimi Soltysik: And it is key. You know, in work like that, like the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, it’s every single day. The folks working have families, they have jobs, and its day in, day out work and they work because that boot is on their neck. It’s not a game. And, its not for spectacle and they don’t do it for recognition on Democracy Now!, they are doing it so that they can live. It is a matter of survival; you know? And they take it very seriously, the concept of community and working for solutions as a part of the community. It’s things like this, that if I am to look for hope in all of this. It’s knowing that every day there are folks out there like that every day that are laying it on the line. That’s inspiring as hell, you know? I feel so grateful and so fortunate to have the opportunity to work on projects like that. Its just wonderful.

Bryer Sousa: That is very grounding. If we look at people like Edward Snowden, who threw away the bourgeois lifestyle he could have obtained and maintained quite well, in the name of liberty, the right to not be subjected to such unconstitutional surveillance and for the public to know about it, I am inclined to garner your thoughts on WikiLeaks, Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, and so on?

Mimi Soltysik: So I think this sort of surveillance apparatus, again, is not an abstraction. It’s real. I can tell you here, in L.A., there is a thing called Suspicious Activity Reports, where if you go into the public and you meet a certain amount of characteristics, which are simple and sort of innocuous matters such as using binoculars in the park, asking for store hours, taking photos with your cell phone, or if you are working in anti-gentrification work, the police are permitted to file such a report. That file goes to the LAPD, which they vet send nearly all of the files to what’s Fusion Center, which is a collection of data for law enforcement, which is then coupled with international law enforcement as well as private contractors. This file, once opened on you, it’s there for 30 years. Cops are also doing what is called Risk Terrain Modeling, where they look at past behaviors of a community and they target block by block area for police saturation. The information that sort of guides that map, includes, number of fast food restaurants, number of bars, number of payday loans, I mean … they are targeting communities of color.

Bryer: Of course.

Mimi: They are. And they are doing predictive algorithms where they feed this information into the computer for the purpose of further saturation of the area with police. I think my first reaction was disbelief. Until we find out not only is it happening, but it is pervasive. So I think when we think about Assange, and Snowden you know, where what I just described is a surveillance mechanism, this kind of targeting, and primarily targeting communities of color, it’s here its now, it’s entrenched and it is accelerating at a rate that I can’t really comprehend. You know, we meet about it in L.A. maybe once or twice a week. We plan and coordinate our strategies, prepared to act, every week with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, but it’s a trip because law professors will sit in on the sessions, the workshops, the planning, and you want to think, or say “this can’t be happening,” “somebody is making this up,” but it’s real. It’s a trip to here from professors, you know? I just heard this past week, a law professor said there’s very little people can do to fight back. And this was in regards to the recent fourth amendment ruling. And it’s incredible man, it’s incredible.

Bryer Sousa: When you say predictive algorithms, I bring a neat background into the mix, and maybe I am risking my career at the moment, but I am willing to do so …

Mimi Soltysik: Be careful.

Bryer Sousa: I am a mathematics major so I work on data optimization and data mining and things like that. The inaccuracy of it, is so profound. Furthermore, the assumptions that I have to make, it is as if I were a capitalist economist saying that we are all rational consumers. That is how we behave. We make these blatant assumptions, and they have real consequences. Let’s look at the drone program that unveiled via The Intercept. The modeling that went into that, automatically assigns the individual, based on the metadata and cell phone based signals intelligence, the label of Enemy Killed in Combat, unless they are known not to be after the assassination. It is such backwards logic and it happens in all directions. It is happening in on the psychological scale, regarding the question “how do corporations best sell their products? how do they make you feel as though you can only live through their project? how does policing happen?”

Mimi Soltysik: It’s terrifying and it’s real and it’s pervasive. I know in Chicago there are things called “hot spots.” I mentioned risk terrain modeling where they identify an area and feed information into an algorithm to target and saturate an area. People are being killed. I would suggest, you know, you mention this is the kind of work that you do, and its what you study, that I think there is, in fighting this, there is a need for what you do. It reminds me, like we talk about the value that we each bring to this big project, and we all have a way to contribute and just hearting you talk about that and thinking how incredible this problem is, it just reminded me like, “Shit you know, there is work for you to do.”

Bryer Sousa: Definitely, I spend a lot of my time writing my thesis on data optimization and data mining/methods in algorithmic thinking. There is a real importance, like with William Benny, who worked for the NSA and then blew the whistle, basically after trying to go through the proper channels, was turned down over and over again, until finally he voiced what was transpiring. I think there is a real importance to try to use your education for the purpose of not solely finding a job or career, of course you need a job to put food on the table, but to answer an almost moral duty that you ensure you are using, especially for me, knowing that I’m white, knowing that I’m male, even though I came from harsh domestic conditions, which probably instilled the sympathy within me, to know for others, to know that I have this privilege to go to university, and then use this to enrich the lives of others and inform them of these tactics and what is being used, and the legitimacy of it, and knowing they are not conspiratorial things; you can feel crazy sometimes.

Mimi Soltysik: Because the information tactics with the surveillance and how it is used, it does sound dystopian, it sounds like it’s from a Terry Gilliam movie or something. Its like, this can’t be. In fact, it is real and it is in our local law enforcement. If we don’t respond, like we said, it is accelerating at an alarming rate. And folks are making bank off of its acceleration. Today is, for so many in the US and around the world, a nightmare. I can’t imagine what tomorrow is going to look like without a response.

Bryer Sousa: With that in mind, what happens to journalists when this kind of surveillance is turned on them? Moreover, what happens to freedom of expression?

Mimi Soltysik: The first thing I think is that for so many of the folks, fundamental rights have never been present. And that’s one thing. And then. Of course there is so many members of the international community who’s fundamental rights are not there, having been the targets of US imperialism and oppression for so long, it all seems to be reaching a climax, where I think we are sort of seeing like stage capitalism where everyone is going down. Everyone. I am a white hetero-male and I have a lot of privilege and for me, I think, acknowledging that what I am facing now, so many people have faced, and much worse, of course, but with climate change and things like that, I’m sort of in that privileged position of being at the tip of the spear, which has hit so many. Like I said, as a white male, much of life is very easy for me, in ways that its certainly is not for so many others. When I consider surveillance and how capitalism has now reached communities (privileged ones) and now they are being affected, I have a lot of feelings about that.

Bryer Sousa: And not to end eventually on a discouraging note, I think it is important to wrap this together in the sense that we have talked about the environmental issues, the war driving refugees (which as a consequence of the imperial hegemony we have the environmental catastrophe), but then there is the direct possibility of nuclear war and environmental catastrophe.

Mimi Soltysik: I’m glad you brought this up. Just the other day, I was talking to Angela and she said about this message from the campaign: you don’t need a savior, you are the ones you have been waiting for, and we were talking about the idea that we aren’t looking for one to rise, we are looking to rise as one. And I think this is particularly important like when general election comes up. We are somewhat conditioned to look to the savior, the candidate, well that’s not going to do it, and if we, as Angela Walker always says, can use this to let people know that they have the power; they won’t need to look to the candidates.

Bryer Sousa: And to use your campaign as a platform, to suggest that there are organizations to join that you can actually serve in and create effective change. Because without it, as we strive to do it alone, it is a monumental task that is not only just of extreme proportion, but can’t be done by oneself.

Mimi Soltysik: Working in community. Work in community. I mean, shit, you never know what is possible and I look to that for hope.


Autumn Minery & Bryer Sousa

AUTUMN MINERY is a New Hampshire native and a soon-to-be graduate of Keene State College where she will receive her Bachelor's Degree in English, in both literature and writing options. While attending Keene State, Autumn excelled in, and received credit for many courses that prepared her further for a career in writing or literature, including but not limited to: Literature of the Holocaust, Creative-Nonfiction and Memoir Workshops, Memoir Theory and Practice as well as a course in Professional Writing. As of recently, she has found her work under peer review and in progress for possible publication in a variety of literary magazines. BRYER SOUSA is currently majoring in mathematics at the University of Southern Maine. Before transferring to the University of Southern Maine, he studied chemistry and physics as a member of the Honors College at the University of Maine. During his freshman year at the University of Maine, Bryer was the first-ever recipient of the Davis Foundation $10,000 Projects for Peace grant, from the University of Maine. With the funding, he co-founded the Water for ME Foundation, and served as the president of the student group for three years. Mr. Sousa became an award winning activist by way of his humanitarian efforts with the Water for ME Foundation, ultimately being awarded the Maine Campus Compact Heart and Soul Award.

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