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Socialist presidential candidate's main message isn't "vote for me."

Tracy Samilton/Michigan Radio
Emidio "Mimi" Soltysik, Socialist Party USA presidential candidate

Emidio "Mimi" Soltysik says his run for president under the banner of the Socialist Party USA banner is more of an organizing project than a traditional campaign.

Soltysik described that project to a group of about 20 people at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Wednesday night. With his calm and gentle demeanor, the former musician comes across more as a guru of socialism than a fiery revolutionary.

The purpose of his campaign is to get people "plugged in" to their communities, he says, not get the most votes possible.

"We're doing everything we can to be highly accessible," Soltysik says. "We're addressing the fears that people have. Folks are hurting. If we listen, that diminishes the fear. The goal is, it's not focused on Election Day, it's focused on what happens before and particularly after Election Day."

But make no mistake: Soltysik believes in revolution. 

"It's clear the planet's carrying capacity can no longer handle capitalism as a system," he says. The strategy of the Socialist Party USA is to find "pressure points" in the capitalist system, and replace them with socialist alternatives.

Soltysik says Bernie Sanders' campaign has helped his own candidacy get attention.

"We know that mainstream media is generally not banging at our door to find out what we're doing on a day to day basis, to say the least," he says wryly. "That changes somewhat in a general election, and we had some idea over a year ago, that with the inclusion of Bernie Sanders into this race, we might see some escalated media coverage. That's happened."

Soltysik will appear Thursday night at a forum for third party candidates at Mott Community College's Event Center in Flint.

He and running mate Angela Nicole Walker will appear on Michigan's ballot under the label of the Natural Law Party, which retains its place on the state ballot although it no longer nominates its own candidates.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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