Over the last three years Austin DSA has outpaced DSA groups across the country. All groups gained members due to Bernie/Trump but Austin DSA outgrew all these groups because we were supportive of fights for social justice in Austin. We asked folks to join and we supported other groups’ progressive actions. We spent a minimum amount of time on our bureaucracy and a maximum number effort on involving folks in activism.
We spent little time grabbing the limelight and a lot of time building the progressive movement as we grew locally and nationally. Other organizations and individual opportunists watched as we grew. Many extremist groups sent folks into DSA to recruit and spread their ideas. They built divisions and spread lies in our ranks. They looked for folks to turn to easy solutions. Real organizing builds organization.
At the national, DSA extremists with less than one year in DSA dominate the leadership. Many of the long-time leaders have been intimidated. The extremists and factionalists have been calling and emailing Austin to pick up supporters for their factions; secretly taping meetings and posting edited versions online. The lack of ethics and simply not knowing right from wrong dominate at the national level and has now crept into Austin.
The opportunists and extremists could not allow democratic socialists to build a movement. Many of these folks do not consider themselves democratic socialists.
I can no longer urge Austin DSA members to stay in DSA and I can no longer ask folks to join DSA. DSA has many good folks, but it is no longer the organization of Eugene Debs, Michael Harrington, or Bernie Sanders.
Many of the new leadership do not think Bernie is a real socialist. In the last weeks rocks have been overturned and snakes have wiggled out. I urge everyone to take a look at what DSA is becoming nationally and what some want DSA to turn into locally. Each Austin member should decide for themselves how to relate to DSA. I have decided to leave DSA.
-- Danny Fetonte