--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------In 2015, Danny Fetonte failed in his bid to run for DSA National Political Committee (NPC) after he accurately described his time working for the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT) in his biography. In 2017, after the DSA's explosion in membership and near complete turnover of delegates attending the convention, Mr. Fetonte adopted new language for his biography which obscured his past working relationship with police unions. In doing so, Mr. Fetonte denied delegates the opportunity to debate the relationship the DSA should have towards those who organize for police unions. Whether this was intentional or unintentional is immaterial to the fact that DSA Convention delegates and members were blindsided by the CLEAT information after Mr. Fetonte had already been elected to the NPC.
The delegation at the 2017 DSA Convention overwhelmingly voted for a proposal that expresses DSA’s institutional support for the abolition of police and the carceral state. We, as an organization, believe that we are morally obliged to stand against and dismantle institutions that terrorize, brutalize, rape, and murder our most vulnerable comrades, communities, and allies in the name of white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism.
Police unions play an especially odious role in this system, defending their members from prosecution, resisting reforms, and institutionalizing toxic, anti-democratic political environments at the federal, state, and local levels throughout the country.
Whether or not members who play a role in these institutions should be considered for positions of national leadership within an organization that stands fundamentally opposed to the ends they pursue is a conversation that we must have, but that is not the matter at hand here. Mr. Fetonte's deceptive actions in his campaign for NPC and his subsequent behavior–lashing out at critics instead of considering their criticism, eliding or dismissing the concerns of comrades he was elected to serve, and refusing to publicly repudiate or even publicly examine his stated opinions of police unions–are unbecoming of a person in DSA’s national leadership, and make his continued presence in the position to which he was narrowly elected unacceptable.
This is not an issue only affecting the DSA. Members of several other organizations fighting for racial justice and equality have also voiced concerns over Mr. Fetonte’s election to the NPC, including allies in Black Lives Matter. His continued presence on the NPC impairs DSA’s efforts to partner with and support these and other organizations, and harms the fight against racist oppression.
Furthermore, at the Austin DSA meeting on August 17, when Mr. Fetonte was confronted with good-faith criticisms regarding problematic aspects of his work organizing for police unions, he and his supporters responded with accusations of personal attacks and “online” “conspiracies” rather than engaging with criticisms in a meaningful way.
We, the undersigned, believe that Mr. Fetonte cannot represent us on the NPC. If he does not resign by 12:00 PM EDT on August 30th, we will begin a dues strike.
Those of us who pay yearly membership dues will not renew until after Mr. Fetonte resigns or is removed from the NPC. Likewise, those of us who have signed up for monthly dues will also cancel our payment schedules and withhold further payments until Mr. Fetonte is off the NPC.
We will, at our local chapter's discretion, continue to perform the direly necessary work to organize and fight back against capitalism and oppression in all their forms, including through local financial support, but we cannot in good conscience accept Mr. Fetonte on our NPC without registering the most stringent dissent available to us.
Mr. Fetonte, we leave it to you to decide if the strength of the organization is more important than your own desire to be on the NPC. We believe that none of us are more important than the movement, and we believe that all our comrades, be they members in senior leadership or first-time meeting attendees, should place their own ambitions subordinate to the good of the DSA and to the cause of dismantling capitalism in order to create a democratic socialist society.
Resign by August 30th.
*your responses will not be shared without your express consent and will not be used for any purpose outside of the petition*
*will update this section at intervals of 50 new signatories: i.e. we now have 50, 100, 150, 200 signatories*
Petition launched: 2:48 pm EST 8/18/2017
Updates: 50 signed as of 3:11 pm EST 8/18/2017100 signed as of 3:50 pm EST 8/18/2017150 signed as of 4:30 pm EST 8/18/2017200 signed as of 6:04 pm EST 8/18/2017250 signed as of 8:36 pm EST 8/18/2017300 signed as of 10:36 am EST 8/19/2017350 signed as of 11:11 am EST 8/27/2017400 signed as of 2:07 am EST 8/28/2017450 signed as of 8:55 am EST 8/28/2017500 signed as of 12:05 am EST 8/28/2017550 signed as of 6:34 pm EST 8/28/2017600 signed as of 10:44 pm EST 8/30/2017