This is my first post in quite some time. I often felt the urge to pick up the pen, so to speak, and offer my thoughts on the many current events. Time went by and I became wrapped up with organizing for the Communist Party, work, day to day life.
I often wanted to write about the Coronavirus outbreak, the horrific murder of George Floyd, and the historic uprising centered around Black Lives Matter. However, events moved so fast and there were many others offering their much needed voices and perspectives. But today with the passing of my friend and comrade Mimi Soltysik, I felt compelled to say something. Even if it was just to put my thoughts down onto paper.
This writing will be different from my other articles at The Red Flag, I only offer my thoughts, feelings, and opinions on an influential individual in my personal life.
I first met Mimi ten years ago when I joined my first leftist organization, the Socialist Party USA. The economic collapse of 2008–2009 challenged my preconceived notions and led me down the road of socialism. I was nervous about meeting my first socialist and joining a leftist party. But after I submitted my application to join the SPUSA, one of the first people to reach out to me was Mimi. He was warm, friendly, funny, and knowledgeable. He immediately put my concerns at ease.
Mimi had a way to make new members and old comrades feel welcomed and valued. If you were new to socialism or an old Marxist, Mimi did not care and treated everyone as if you had something important to say.
In my opinion, he perfectly encapsulated the values and morals each organizer, socialist, revolutionary, and human should strive to personify. Anyone that knew Mimi knows he had no tolerance for intolerance. He fearlessly railed against injustice, racism, homophobia, and capitalism his entire organizing career. However, he never acted as if he knew all the answers. He was humble and always willing to listen to other perspectives. Especially the voices and opinions of people of color, the LGBTQ community, and Indigenous comrades.
Mimi always had time to listen to my concerns, questions, and comments. No matter how small they may have been. He never once made me feel stupid, he was always kind and patient. He truly cared about organizing and the community around him. Which I find is a trait severely lacking in the left today. He was not into organizing for the clout, the fame, or influence, he simply wanted to build a better world. The words of Che Guevara ring true for my dear comrade “ If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, you are a comrade of mine.” I feel Mimi always strived to live up to that maxim.
In his own words Mimi stated “I feel allied with most anyone who seeks the overthrow of capitalism. The sectarianism on the Left is exhausting and so incredibly time-consuming if you allow yourself to engage in that sort of bullshit.” I could not agree more with that sentiment. Today, we have lost an absolute giant of the left. Mimi was a wealth of knowledge, a tireless organizer, dedicated friend, and champion of the working-class.
Mimi burned bright with revolutionary love. Love for people he never met, love for his community, love for his friends, family, and partner. Mimi was a red hot flame of love and compassion. It is my hope I can continue to carry that torch, carry Mimi’s flame into my organizing. I hope I can live up to be half the person, friend, comrade, and organizer Mimi was.
Rest in power comrade, we will continue to carry the torch from here.