Much is made about an alleged racist comment Elvis Presley is supposed to have made in 1958 – but in reality his 1970 letter to President Richard Nixon reveals his true support for the White establishment and how he was prepared to use his celebrity to deceptively infiltrate minority ethnic and leftwing political groups (that liked his music) on behalf of the rightwing US government of the corrupt President Nixon. In 1958, Elvis Presley is said to have commented that Black people were only fit to shine his shoes and buy his records – but the White establishment (with help from sections of the middle class African-American community in the US) have continuously worked to ‘negate’ this statement and even disassociate Elvis Presley from it. Whatever the case, privileged White people such as Elvis Presley, writing about a ‘ghetto’ he has never experienced and which has been historically generated by White racism in the service of capitalism, is the quintessential example of a Eurocentric racism that cannot see itself. The point is that the White establishment (which Elvis Presley served as a ‘federal agent’), and the music industry that made him rich, has created a myth about Elvis Presley that does not reflect or represent Elvis Presley the real person. Therefore, stating the obvious about Elvis Presley will cause the bourgeois mind-set to ‘react’ with anger and aggression – but never logic or reason. So be it – this is the price of dialectical progression, and Elvis Presley, regardless of his talent and wealth, and whatever kindnesses he showed people in his life, did not understand the racism perpetuated by his own ethnicity, and remained ignorant of the working class Black experience that various Socialist Movements sought to remedy.
For the White (bourgeois) establishment in the USA, it is important that if African-American people feel the need to oppose (and fight) racism, they must do so whilst simultaneously supporting the capitalist system, and never associating the racism they suffer with the exploitative socio-economic system within which they exist. concomitant with this non-resistance to capitalism is the requirement for African-Americans to remain mired in Judeo-Christian thinking and never question established (bourgeois) religious narratives. The ironies inherent in this position are many. Capitalism was the driving force behind the European practice of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade – which for hundreds of years kidnapped and transported millions of African men, women and children to the Americas – where White slave-owners ‘beat’ African culture out of their prisoners, and instilled instead a subservient mentality mediated by the theology associated with the Judeo-Christian religion. The economic drive to expand markets for making profit is the basis of European racism, whereby the European Church aided and abetted this process through the use of justifying biblical scripture. Opposing racism, whilst not recognising the facts that racism has its roots in European capitalism and religion, is a grave dialectical error of interpretation. If capitalism and religion are not acknowledged as the progenitor and preserver of racism – the underlying foundation of European racism continues from one generation to the next unopposed, with only cosmetic changes to how racism manifests in outer society. Protesting about racism whilst ignoring the part capitalism and Christianity play in its existence only leads to superficial change, and only then in a way that only benefits wealthy African-Americans – as racism continues to oppress the working class in the same manner as it did hundreds of years ago.
The Black Panther Movement – as an African-American initiative – did indeed recognise the capitalist basis of European racism, taking its opposing ideological direction from the Scientific Socialism of Karl Marx. This was one of a number of African-American developments that demonstrated a progressive and advanced working class consciousness, and which directly took on the White establishment by confronting its racism and continuous outrages. This is the Black working class actively protecting itself against the abusive power of the White (bourgeois) establishment. This is Socialism (and Communism) in action. However, the brain-washing of the broader African-American community by the White establishment has led to many Black people ‘internalizing’ White racist attitudes, and assuming that kowtowing to White dominance, capitalism and Christianity is in their own best interests. This is a reactionary position whereby a certain economic category of African-American subconsciously think that White middle class culture is superior and worthy of emulation – not realising that in so doing they are legitimizing the historical racism of the White community which has been inflicted upon the Black community in America. This paradoxical (and inverted) situation will continue as long as White racism is allowed to exist unopposed. At the moment, the post-modern White community is busying itself by co-opting as many ‘non-White’ minorities into supporting its historical racist narrative as possible – with each minority remaining ‘inferior’ to their White over-lords (as complicity with racism does not guarantee ‘equality’ with the oppressor).
Elvis Presley was a racist because he opposed the Black Panther Movement and possessed no understanding of White racism and what it is like to live under such a historical tyranny. He associated the fighting of racism with Communist ‘brain-washing’, and suggested that Black people in the US were only acting in this manner because of outside influences (presumably from the Soviet Union). In other words, what Presley referred to as ‘America’ was nothing other than the White, racist establishment, which in his view should be supported and never opposed. Of course, Presley was a successful entertainer and fully fledged capitalist, but it is curious how a White man who made millions out of mimicking Black music, could possess such little understanding of the historical or existential plight of the African-American people whose music he stole. This is the letter Elvis Presley wrote to President Nixon asking to be empowered as a Federal Agent so that he could fight the hippies and Black Panthers (amongst other group he considered ‘undesirable’):
Dear Mr. President.
First, I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley and admire you and have great respect for your office. I talked to Vice President Agnew in Palm Springs three weeks ago and expressed my concern for our country. The drug culture, the hippie elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do not consider me as their enemy or as they call it the establishment. I call it America and I love it. Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out. I have no concern or motives other than helping the country out.
So I wish not to be given a title or an appointed position. I can and will do more good if I were made a Federal Agent at Large and I will help out by doing it my way through my communications with people of all ages. First and foremost, I am an entertainer, but all I need is the Federal credentials. I am on this plane with Senator George Murphy and we have been discussing the problems that our country is faced with. Sir, I am staying at the Washington Hotel, Room 505-506-507. I have two men who work with me by the name of Jerry Schilling and Sonny West. I am registered under the name of Jon Burrows. I will be here for as long as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent. I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good. I am Glad to help just so long as it is kept very private. You can have your staff or whomever call me anytime today, tonight, or tomorrow. I was nominated this coming year one of America’s Ten Most Outstanding Young Men. That will be in January 18 in my home town of Memphis, Tennessee. I am sending you the short autobiography about myself so you can better understand this approach. I would love to meet you just to say hello if you’re not too busy.
P. S. I believe that you, Sir, were one of the Top Ten Outstanding Men of America also.
I have a personal gift for you which I would like to present to you and you can accept it or I will keep it for you until you can take it.
These are all my PVT numbers
|Col P.S. #||325-4781|
|Col B.H. #||274-8498|
|Col. Off M.E.M.||870-0370|
WASHINGTON HOTEL PHONE ME 85900
Under the name of Jon Burrows
Attn. President Nixon
via Sen. George Murphy