Alright, I’m here with Socialist Party USA Presidential Candidate Mimi Soltysik: Mimi, introduce yourself to the readers of The Word.

Hello, readers of The Word! I’m Mimi Soltysik from the Socialist Party USA, and, along with my running mate, Angela Nicole Walker, I’m part of the Socialist Party USA’s 2016 presidential ticket.

Now, since The Word is a newspaper by and for the Midwestern LGBT community, where does the Socialist Party and your campaign specifically stand on issues relating to the queer community?

Straight from the Platform: “The Socialist Party USA stands for the abolition of every form of domination and exploitation, whether based on social class, gender, race/ethnicity, age, education, sexual orientation, or other characteristics.” I think we are always working to find more effective ways to be enemies of oppression.

And what is your campaign doing to address these issues? The violence against the community has certainly been up front and center recently with the attack in Orlando and the bomb threats against Pride celebrations in Texas and California.

On a broad level, there have been statements of support and solidarity. On the day-to-day, we work very hard to contribute to the development of safe spaces where oppressed communities can connect and engage in a dialogue that will, ideally, lead to strategic planning aimed at dismantling systems of oppression. Angela and I aren’t here to be telling folks what they should or shouldn’t be doing. We are here as members of our communities, as sisters and brothers in the struggle against capitalism and its oppressions. The people are going to lead the way.

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Going back to the election, most LGBT people I know are basically Democrats by default (yes, I’ve known a few LGBT Republicans, but they’re a rare breed) because they see the Democrats as kinder towards the LGBT community. What can the Socialist Party offer as a real alternative?

Today, the Socialist Party USA offers the hope of seeing an idea realized. It can offer a community of folks working to see that idea realized.

Looking deeper at potential voters, it seems vast swaths of American voters are disappointed with both major candidates, with Clinton and Trump both showing approval ratings well below 50 percent. Do you see this as an opportunity for your campaign to gain new voters? As Sanders did not strongly identify as a Democrat, could the Socialist Party turn many of his voters on to the SP’s ideals?

I don’t know that we’re looking at the campaign as a way to gain new voters. I would say that we are always looking to the dialogue. We are always looking for new ways to help, in any way we can, facilitate the development of communities that aim to dismantle systems of oppression. We aren’t seeking votes. We, as candidates, aren’t after power in this system. We are focused on the work done at the community level, the work that would need to be done to build a socialist society. Democratic. Inclusive. Participatory.

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