We, the Steering Committee of DSA-Los Angeles, join DSA chapters and caucuses across the nation to call upon Danny Fetonte to voluntarily step down from his seat on DSA’s National Political Committee.
We pair this call to step down with a recognition of the work Fetonte has done for DSA and the tremendous work of the Austin, Texas local, and appeal directly to his convictions as a democratic socialist and activist. We make this request in the interest of maintaining the strength and integrity of the DSA, and hope that Fetonte has the same desire to advance our organization.
We recognize that past employment is not inherently disqualifying; for us, the clearest failing is Comrade Fetonte’s lack of transparency in discussing or addressing his past work with the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT). CLEAT is by its own words “the largest police officers’ union in Texas, the largest legal services provider in [Texas] specializing in representing law enforcement officers, and the largest alliance of local police officers’ associations in Texas.” In the strongest possible terms, we oppose any organizational work that bolsters the tools of oppression and the carceral state, strengthens white supremacy, and supports systemic violence directed toward vulnerable groups and the working class.
Transparency about his past coupled with a strong rejection of CLEAT's mission, detailing his understanding of the left’s relationships to police, could have convinced comrades to give him the benefit of the doubt. Indeed, many DSA members have participated or are employed by institutions with missions counter to DSA’s goals, and we continue to welcome members who openly confront their roles within these institutions. However, Fetonte didn't take these steps and instead intentionally obscured his relationship with CLEAT, framing it instead as a political credential to be considered positively by voters. This failure to acknowledge the obvious political values of fellow membership and failure to recognize the inevitable controversy that would arise from this work history is antithetical to our shared values of solidarity, equality and transparency.
We feel that the best course of action is for Danny Fetonte to voluntarily resign. Barring a timely resignation, we ask that the National Political Committee exercise its authority under Section 7 in Article VIII of the DSA Constitution to remove Danny Fetonte via a two-thirds vote in response to demands made by numerous chapters, working groups and caucuses. We believe that this controversy has the potential to spiral into a larger, destructive conflict that creates major rifts in our organization and endangers the good work that DSA is doing in solidarity with vulnerable groups nationwide. We hope this is a learning opportunity for future electoral procedures for candidates, delegates and organizing committees; one that reaffirms a commitment to transparency and electoral timelines that allow for thorough engagement with candidates for leadership.
Finally, we stand in solidarity with DSA Austin and categorically condemn any attacks on them or their chapters. We trust and support our comrades who are emphatic about the high quality of Fetonte’s organizing work, which often included actions in solidarity with oppressed communities, and believe that they upheld his candidacy in good faith. We request that he voluntarily step down from the NPC, and we will applaud him for his commitment to prioritizing DSA over his own position. We hope the collective lesson from this experience is that transparency is the hallmark of good faith. We extend our hand to all comrades, including Comrade Fetonte, as we take this opportunity to grow and strengthen our bonds in the struggle against capitalist oppression.
DSA Los Angeles Steering Committee
This statement was collectively produced and endorsed by the DSA-LA Steering Committee, and we would like to thank the Libertarian Socialist Caucus, Queer Socialists Working Group, the DSA Veterans Working Group, and Chicago DSA for their statements on this matter, as well as discussion from several of our chapter members—which inspired much of this statement.