Summary: Commemorating the life and word of Mimi Soltysik, socialist peace and justice activist in Los Angeles — Editors
We mourn the death of Mimi Soltysik (1974-2020), cut down by cancer in the prime of life. Mimi worked tirelessly in the peace and social justice movements of the Los Angeles area. A leading figure in the Socialist Party USA, he also devoted his considerable energies to the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition.
A democratic socialist in the best sense of the term, Mimi opposed all forms oppression and supported all forms of human liberation, whether based upon class, race, gender, sexuality, or climate justice. This also meant that he located himself in the wing of the peace movement that opposed all forms of war and oppression, whether originating from the USA, China, Russia, or regimes like that of Assad in Syria or Bolsonaro in Brazil.
The Los Angeles chapter of the International Marxist-Humanist Organization worked with Mimi for over two years in the LA-based Coalition for Peace, Revolution, and Social Justice (CPRSJ). The CPRSJ held public forums on imperialism and war today, the nature of fascism, and political prisoners around the world. We also organized a number of small demonstrations over issues like Trump’s war threats against North Korea, the assassination of the Black socialist feminist Marielle Franco in Brazil, Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and immigrant rights in the USA. In this coalition, Mimi was a solid, reliable participant who always foregrounded the most important issues.
Mimi was a large, strong, yet very gentle person. He put his body on the line to defend his socialist and anti-racist principles on more than one occasion. In one such instance, in 2017, he helped fend off the far right Proud Boys, who were attempting to disrupt a meeting of the Santa Monica Committee for Racial Justice, which had many vulnerable undocumented residents in attendance. By his account, Mimi engaged in some strategic shoving, but was self-disciplined enough to avoid actually striking any of the Proud Boys. Shouting vile racist epithets at People of Color in attendance, the Proud Boys were also videoing the event and goading attendees to attack them physically in order to use the footage for propaganda purposes. Mimi and others managed to contain the threat, allowing the meeting to continue without giving the Proud Boys the footage they were seeking.
Mimi’s death is a terrible loss to the movement for human liberation, but his life of struggle has helped to bring that goal forward.
Remembering Mimi, the old wobbly watchword, “Don’t Mourn, Organize!” comes to the fore, shining through amid all the grief and sadness.