This statement was endorsed by the Steering Committee of Boston DSA and the general membership at our August general meeting.
Boston DSA Prison Abolition Working Group is calling for the resignation of Danny Fetonte from DSA’s National Political Committee. We believe having him remain in a position of leadership is inconsistent with the democratic nature and expectations of accountability that we hope characterize DSA, the work we engage in, and the community we build within the DSA and with coalition partners and incarcerated comrades.
The fact that Danny did not disclose his involvement with CLEAT, a law enforcement union, in any of his election materials and statements is incredibly worrying to us. While we all work under varying degrees of coercion, to omit mention of this work deprives the DSA membership of making an informed judgment about its leadership. This comes off as undemocratic, and it preempted a valuable public discussion on how working with police unions helps to stabilize a central element of capitalism, the carceral state.
We believe that for DSA to truly be a mass socialist movement which offers solidarity to all of its members, its vision must include prison abolition. We must not forget that both police and prisons are born of, and thrive in, a racist, capitalist state. Police and prisons protect capitalism from the immiseration it produces, primarily by suppressing communities of color, poor communities, and queer communities. Law enforcement unions like CLEAT are often used as an instrument to shield members from public accountability for repressive actions. Additionally, these unions work hard to make sure that police, correctional officer, and other law enforcement jobs remain viable, thereby ensuring that the carceral state remains stable or expands. DSA’s members and leaders must strive for transformative justice for working people as a whole. We should not turn away from this struggle even when it is in conflict with the priorities of individual unions – nowhere is this more evident than with law enforcement unions.
We also second the following statement from DSA LA: “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 do not expect to find, ready-made, a mass socialist movement – it must be built. We all grow through political struggle. However, the NPC is explicitly representative of DSA’s aspirations and political priorities. If he will not resign, we urge that all democratic procedures at hand be used to remove Danny Fetonte from the NPC.
Boston DSA Prison Abolition Working Group