Nikil Saval

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Nikil Saval a political organizer and Democratic leader of South Philly’s 2nd Ward, announced Sunday plans to unseat state Sen. Larry Farnese (D-1st dist.) in the April primary. The announcement was made at Hawthorne Park, 12th and Catharine streets. Saval has worked extensively with left-wing organization Reclaim Philadelphia, a political organization he co-founded that helped elect state Reps. Elizabeth Fiedler and Joe Hohenstein and District Attorney Larry Krasner. According to the group’s website, Saval is part of its steering committee.

“The status quo is not working for us and our neighbors in the district, and we are not satisfied with a leadership in the Pennsylvania legislature that refuses to take seriously the gravity of toxic schools, runaway development, corporate greed,” said Saval. “We could have, if we mobilized, organized and fought, fully funded schools, new affordable homes, renewable energy, vibrant mass transit, universal family care and family-sustaining jobs.”

The 1st Senatorial District incorporates most of South Philly, all of Center City and parts of Southwest Philly and the River Wards.

At the campaign kickoff, Saval hinted that he’d run a progressive campaign focused on the issues of working-class people.

“This is a campaign whose heart and soul, whose deepest roots lie with working-class people fighting for dignity and respect on the job,” he said. “State money has been funneled by legislators to remediate lead and asbestos for nonunion luxury hotels, and somehow we cannot find the money to do the same in our schools.”

Savel said he’d work to propose “the most ambitious Green New Deal policy seen in any state.”

If elected to the state Senate, Saval would be the first South Asian elected to state government in Pennsylvania.

In addition to his life in politics, Saval is a regular contributor to the New York Times, where he writes about design. He also contributes to the New Yorker and authored a book entitled Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace.

Saval was a local leader in Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign.

Saval’s campaign manager, Amanda McIllmurray.[1]

Ex Occupy

In Philadelphia, Nikil Saval (one of Astra Taylor's co-editors for five issues of an Occupy-focused newspaper published in collaboration with the literary magazine n+1) has officially launched a bid for a state legislature seat, earning the early support of local activists and union organizers. [2]

Leaders

Reclaim Philadelphia leaders 2019.

Backing Krasner

From Daniel Dale of The Star:[4]

"Asa Khalif, the public face of Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania, is the kind of polarizing figure Americans seeking to become DA usually run away from or run against. But wherever Larry Krasner went out and campaigned, Khalif was at his side.
"The protester arrested on some 20 occasions had offered to play the role of character witness. The prosecutor-to-be had gratefully accepted.
"Khalif had never endorsed any political candidate before Krasner. But Krasner, a left-wing defence lawyer who has sued the Philadelphia police department 75 times, had represented him in a half-dozen court cases.
"More importantly, much of Krasner’s platform could have been written by Black Lives Matter itself."

[...]

"In addition to pledging specific justice reforms, Krasner’s platform included an explicit promise to “resist the Trump administration.” In Krasner, despondent progressives found someone they could believe in.
“In light of the pain of Trump’s presidency, particularly the pain felt in American cities and urban centres, people feel compelled to counterbalance that in a way that’s been something I don’t think I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” said Shaun King, a journalist for the Intercept who is affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. “People are now being very clear on the progressive principles and ideals that they stand for.”
Krasner was backed by a diverse constellation of local and national progressive groups. He received more than $1.5 million from liberal billionaire George Soros. He also received more than 100 foot soldiers from grassroots group Reclaim Philadelphia.
Reclaim was founded last year by veterans of Sanders’s primary campaign who decided to turn their post-election attention to local problems. They became the strategists and labour behind a pro-Krasner door-knocking force that targeted black neighbourhoods.
“The Democratic Party is not really responsive here to the needs of citizens. Many of the same things you see at a national level you can see on the ground here. And people in some way can be galvanized more on local issues because they feel them, they see them right at their doorstep,” said Nikil Saval, a Reclaim Philadelphia co-founder.
Black Lives Matter, born in street protest and online protest to racism and police brutality, had always been focused on local issues. It had not always been interested in local elections. Over the past two years, however, its activists have shifted from shouting to campaigning. And they have won.

History

Nikil Saval is opening up to dozens of people about one of the most harrowing experiences of his family's life.

He's at a city rec center, where the left-wing group Reclaim Philadelphia is meeting, on a muggy June night. Technically, the 35-year-old literary magazine editor is speaking about the dearth of affordable housing. But instead of simply rattling off wonky statistics, he's talking about the fact that his parents were forced to leave the country after costs skyrocketed in their Los Angeles neighborhood.

"They sold their house and moved back to India," Saval said, "abandoning their 30-year-long project to make a permanent life in the United States."

Left Forum 2011

What Are Cities Good For?: Gentrification and the Future of Urban Life:

References