Who Is Peta Lindsay?

Meet the black woman running for president on a platform of socialist revolution.

William S. Saturn/PSLweb

“All revolutions are impossible until they happen; then they become inevitable.”
–Albie Sachs, South African activist and judge (1990)

With a knowing chuckle, Peta Lindsay recalls this quote when I ask whether our country could feasibly adopt socialism. Then the 27-year-old, who is running for president of the United States on the Party for Socialism and Liberation ticket, explains why she thinks we can.

“With the explosive growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, people are already struggling against the exploitation of the capitalist system,” she told The Root from her Los Angeles home. “People are in motion.”

For Lindsay, her campaign serves as another front in that movement. Along with her running mate, 26-year-old Colombian native Yari Osorio, and volunteers from PSL branches in 25 states and Washington, D.C., the bubbly African-American activist has been speaking at campuses, handing out flyers at community meetings and planning demonstrations about economic change through the socialist transformation of society.

“We’re highly organized, and we’re used to doing a whole lot with very little resources,” she said of the grassroots operation. “But it’s really the strength of our ideas that will get people out for this campaign.”

While this is Lindsay’s first leap into the electoral arena, it’s her party’s second presidential attempt. In 2008 it ran Gloria La Riva for president. She pulled 6,818 votes across the nation. Lindsay, who was named the 2012 candidate last November and filed with the Federal Election Commission in February, expects to build on La Riva’s numbers — if not actually get elected. For one thing, at 27 she doesn’t meet the constitutional age requirement to hold the office. It’s a technicality to which she pays little mind.

“I think it’s a very undemocratic rule, considering that there are so many people in this country whose lives are affected by the decisions made in our government, yet are not eligible to run for government,” said Lindsay, who  expects to be on the ballot in at least 12 states, based on her party’s 2008 effort. “But I think the people who will take us seriously are people who are going to respond to our message, and not so much to the particularities of me myself.”

If She Were President

A self-described “revolutionary Marxist party based on the working class,” the Party for Socialism and Liberation was formed in 2004 after its founders split from another socialist organization, the Workers World Party. Its membership has since drawn a diverse mix of ages and backgrounds. “We’re actively involved in many working-class issues and struggles, from the anti-war campaign to anti-racist to pro LGBT and women,” La Riva told The Root. “All our members work day and night organizing actions. That’s what makes us stand out.”