The radical past of Diablo Valley professor Eric Clanton's left-wing lawyer
The pro bono lawyer for Eric Clanton, the former Diablo Valley College professor who has been criminally charged with using a heavy bike lock to viciously beat three Trump supporters in the head during a rally for the president in Berkeley, Calif. last month, has himself espoused the use of violence in the cause of social justice.
Dan Siegel of Bay Area law firm Siegel & Yee is an aging '60s radical still fighting The System. So it makes perfect sense that he would take on Clanton's defense free of charge, for his left-wing activism from almost 50 years ago was also grounded in the use of violence and destruction of property.
A 1972 article in the Long Beach Independent notes that Siegel was denied a license to practice law after passing the bar exam due to his political agitation.
"The California State Bar refused to certify Siegel on grounds he was not 'of good moral character' and 'not prepared to support the laws of the United States or the Stale of California,'" the Independent reported. "It said this was because he allegedly advocated violence and the seizure of property and lied when he denied advocating these things."
Siegel had to appeal the ruling all the way to the California Supreme Court. In October 1973, the case was presented. The evidence against him was damning.
Siegel's leading role in the infamous 1969 "People's Park" riot that saw one person killed and hundreds arrested was outlined, as well as his incendiary speechmaking before the Bank of America building was burned down on the campus of UC Santa Barbara in 1970.
Most interesting are the quotes of Siegel ruminating on the appropriateness of using violence to "reverse the power structure in this country," with him concluding that it would be necessary.
According to the evidence listed for the record before the state Supreme Court, Siegel on March 6, 1970 "addressed a large group of people in Provo Park, an open space across the street from the Berkeley City Hall."
Apparently expletives were deleted in the official record, accounting for the use of bracketed ellipses.
Referencing the burning down of the Bank of America building, Siegel spoke of "getting into a new stage in the movement. I like to call this stage 'give them a little [...] for the [...] they are giving us.' That's what's been going on.
"That's what started in Berkeley when we had our first insurrection in the summer of 1968. That's what happened down in Santa Barbara in the last couple of weeks. It's called the 'give them a little [...] for the [...] they give us.'"
From there, Siegel pulled no punches.
"And, brothers and sisters, I am not going to get up here and tell you that in this society nonviolence is the way, because that's [...], we know that. But just at the same time I am not going to tell you that nonviolence is the way and we should avoid violence because it is bad or something like that.
"I am going to tell you this, that we have to be, as time goes on, as the [...] comes down heavier and heavier in Babylon, we have to be a lot heavier about the kind of violence that we're going to perpetrate.
"We are going to have to talk about violence, if it's violence, the question is not nonviolence vs. violence, the question is when violence, and how violence and what violence, because, that is to say that to some of the people, some people think that any kind of violence is groovy and that goes along with the philosophy, give them [...] for giving us [...], which is the only philosophy we have.
"But I will say this, that the kind of oppression that is coming down in this country right now, we will have to do a little bit more thinking, a little bit more getting ourselves together."
Siegel then bluntly stated that he "can see very little objection theoretically, politically, or morally, or anything else, with burning down the Bank of America and all its 500 branches."
Stressing the need to target large corporations and not small businesses owned by working-class people, Siegel said, "If we're going to think about using violence, I think we have to direct it carefully."
In his testimony in response to these damning quotes, Siegel ludicrously explained that "remarks made in the course of the speech indicating that violence was a permissible (albeit ineffective) alternative mode of action were made purely for the purpose of establishing rapport with the audience in order to render them amenable to persuasion."
The shocking quotes and the blatant lie in the face of them resulted in the state bar deeming him unfit to hold a license to practice law.
Yet despite the presentation of all this evidence, the state Supreme Court bizarrely concluded that "we are satisfied that there is a reasonable basis for concluding that none of petitioner's speeches in fact advocated unlawful violence."
Make sense of this if you can:
It bears emphasis that, under the principles we have enunciated, we need not and do not decide whether the speeches or any one of them actually did or did not advocate unlawful violence – rather our inquiry extends only to the questions whether it could be reasonably maintained that they did not.
In other words, Siegel openly declared in speeches that it was time for the radical movement to discuss which forms of violence it was going to use to achieve its goals.
But according to the California state Supreme Court at the time, this could "reasonably" be interpreted as meaning he was quite possibly not advocating the very thing he was openly advocating.
And so the radical lawyer was licensed.
This is the man now volunteering to defend today's (masked) face of Violent Leftism.
Joe Schaeffer is a freelance writer based in Florida.