As Usual, Most Of Us Miss The Point on Ice Cube & “Platinum Plan”

Rapper/actor/entertainer Ice Cube has worn many hats throughout his professional career.  He started as a so-called gangsta rapper with the impactful group NWA in the late 80s.  Then, he joined forces with Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad and the Nation of Islam to become a hardcore Black nationalist rapper in the early 90s.  That phase devolved into him making several high profile records with Mac 10 and WC as the “Westside Connection.”  Records that were part gangsta, part party animal.  Finally, he moved into mainstream motion pictures.

Most recently, he rotated back into the struggle for African self-determination with many public statements supporting protests against police terrorism.  And, in the last several days, its been exposed that he worked, at least on some level, with the administration of the current empire president to help create and/or support the regime’s so-called “Platinum Plan.”  The alleged purpose of this plan is to supposedly uplift the African community within the U.S. with more promises of capitalist advancement for the African masses. 

Most Africans are attacking Ice Cube for working with Trump’s people, but this is an understandable yet extremely subjective and superficial analysis of the real issues here.  What most Africans, and everyone else, will refuse to do is actually study this so-called Platinum Plan.  Most of us will instead rely on sound bites from the capitalist media and celebrity culture.  Most of us will never actually read and assess the plan itself. 

And, studying this plan, and any plan that is supposed to improve the conditions of the African masses, at the very least, requires us to study it in great detail so that’s exactly what we will do here because whether its Ice Cube or Mickey Mouse, our people have to develop increased political sophistication so that we can read through the lines and properly understand what’s being beamed at us.  This is particularly important when you are talking about the Democratic or Republican Parties, both of whom Malcolm X beautifully exposed for us over 50 years ago, although most of us will never study his analysis as well.

You all need to study this so-called plan.  The basis of it ispromises to provide three million new jobs for African people.  To create 500,000 African owned businesses by increasing capital in African communities.  A promise of $500 billion in capital.  Higher policing standards (whatever that is supposed to mean).  A Second Step program which is supposed to address criminal justice system reform “while ensuring our communities and streets are safe.”  There areother statements about support for African churches, immigration policies that protect U.S. jobs, and healthcare.

Let’s break down each element here. 

Three million new jobs:  You have the last four years to provide ample evidence for how this regime, (and all the other ones to – we are neither Democrats, nor Republicans, nor Americans) manipulates employment data.  For them, millions of new jobs that pay minimum wage, offer no benefits, and have no job protections is a bragging right.  The truth is there is no where in this country where quality jobs defined as livable wages, affordable healthcare, and safe work conditions are increasing.  What is increasing are service jobs with low wages, no healthcare, and no stability.  These types of jobs serve the economic interests of the bourgeoisie like Trump and he and those in his class have a history of creating these types of low level jobs.  Anyone with even a cursory perspective on this question would understand clearly that the jobs these people are talking about creating will do nothing to improve the collective conditions of African people.

500,000 new African businesses and $500 billion in capital: Whenever a plausible suggestion for providing healthcare for people or rehabilitation efforts, eliminating houselessness, etc., there is immediately an outcry from reactionaries demanding to know “where the money will come from?”  Yet, some of you believe that this level of capital will be invested in African communities to permit us to independently develop.  A quick study of history will reveal to us that this concept, and all these bogus concepts in this so-called plan, are not new.  In the 1960s, in response to hundreds of urban rebellions, the Nixon administration with the support of McGeorge Bundy and the Chevron Foundation, wrote the script for Affirmative Action as a vehicle to create an African petti bourgeoisie that would have class interests that led it to protect the capitalist system.  This was accomplished.  And with that accomplishment its important to recognize that the goal of Nixon, Bundy, Rockafeller and all those folks 50+ years ago was never to uplift the African masses, although that’s the same rhetoric they used then.  It was to do exactly what they did, create an overseer class of Africans.  Today, even if you believe the numbers they are committing to, this is still their objective.  Whether we recognize it or not, the level of mass protests always rock the capitalist ruling classes to their knees.  They will always do whatever possible to control and mitigate that militancy.  Expanding the African petti bourgeoisie is again their answer.  The question you have to ask yourself is if after 50 years ago, there is no clear pathway for the masses of our people to advance through this model, why would you believe this go around will be any different?

Criminal Justice Reform, etc.:  By reform if you mean reducing the systemic inequities in this racist system (and if reform doesn’t mean that then what’s the point), you are living in a fantasy world if you actually believe this plan is going to make that happen.  This mass incarceration system is based on the same exploitative model that built capitalism.  Releasing a handful of people is great because they all need to be released, but as long as there is a capitalist system, there will be people incarcerated on a mass scale and the overwhelming majority of those people are going to be African and Indigenous.  Also, this talk about protecting and keeping jobs in the U.S. is laughable.  These people want you to believe that poor immigrants are the reason jobs are not available.  The truth is corporations have benefitted from the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other trade tariff agreements to move their operations overseas because its more profitable for them to do that.  The capitalist assault against organized labor along with the refusal of unions to embrace actual political education, has weakened unions and made them revenue motivated entities.  This has done more to create conditions where jobs can leave this economy than anything else and the crafters of this so-called plan are 100% in favor of gutting unions which leaves no voice and protection for workers.

We can go on and on, but the point is this issue is so much bigger than Ice Cube.  This is a question of our lack of political sophistication and our weakness in accepting any random capitalist approved celebrity as our mouthpiece for advancing our people.  When we do this we continue to demonstrate how easily we are willing to be chumped by this system.  Some of us want these things to happen because we are really just concerned about our individual ability to get ahold of some of those dollars that could potentially be invested so that we can build upon our personal business, etc., desires.  These people should be viewed as parasites on our people no different than pimps, drug dealers, etc.  For those of us concerned about the masses of our people, we know that no capitalist plan is ever going to be the solution.  If that was true, it would have happened a long time ago.  Stop looking to celebrities and everyone else to be our voice.  That has simply never worked for us.  Until you see this as your responsibility to get involved and get serious about understanding these issues on deeper levels than the superficial basis we are talking about them now, we will continue to be political chump footballs for everybody who has access to the glitter and lights this system provides to them at your expense.

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Ahjamu Umi is revolutionary organizer with the All African People's Revolutionary Party, adviser, and liberation literature author.