Ice Cube's Dangerous Bullshit, Or...
The Myth of Black Economic Empowerment and the Reality of Trump's Genocidal Racism

by Raymond Lotta



Nothing good, and only something terrible—for Black people, for all oppressed people   everywhere, and for humanity as a whole—will ever come from working with and helping Trump.

Bob Avakian, “Kanye West, Ice Cube—Fools,
and Worse Than Fools

Introductory Note

In late August, let's-make-a-deal rapper/actor/entre-manure Ice Cube unveiled his Contract With Black America. This 22-page proposal purports to address, and provide the road map to meet, the needs of the Black community. It got a friendly reception from the Trump camp, so friendly that they sought out Ice Cube's “advice” for the fascist regime's bullshit proposal (the “Platinum Plan”) to invest $500 billion in the Black community. 

I was provoked to study the Contract With Black America after having read Bob Avakian's article on Kanye West and Ice Cube (cited above). The Contract is a thicket of proposals. Some of its demands are just and righteous, especially around the criminal justice system, voting rights, and educational curriculum. But all of this is within the framework of a larger program and outlook that reinforces beliefs and illusions in this exploitative and oppressive system—beliefs and illusions that in turn strengthen the hold of this system over the masses of Black people. As it stands now, Ice Cube has maintained his openness and willingness “to work” with Trump. We'll see how this develops. 

With this in mind, let's examine core tenets of the Contract With Black America.

1) Absurd and delusional propositions about what this capitalist-imperialist economy can somehow do for Black people. In its section on bank lending and finance reform, the Contract With Black America calls for the Federal Reserve Bank to “adopt a view...of maximizing employment, housing, and educational opportunities, as well as improving quality of living for Black and poor people.” 

Well, you can call on pigeons to “adopt a view” to stop shitting on sidewalks...but biology doesn't work that way. This economic system of capitalism-imperialism operates on the basis of the competitive struggle of capitalists for profit and more profit—profit derived from exploitation. This is NOT an economy that functions according to meeting great social needs. Why do luxury condominiums get built instead of decent, affordable housing for the poor? Because profit rules. Why do Black and Latino communities lack adequate health-care resources? Because that is not a priority of a system divided into have's and have-not's, and that subjects people of color to special forms of oppression.   

But now, somehow, with a wave of a “contract” wand, Ice Cube is going to woo the 500 largest financial and industrial corporations that dominate economic life, and the Federal Reserve Bank that works to safeguard and lubricate the workings of this economic system based on to profit, to “do right” by Black people. To “maximize” meeting the needs of Black people? It is a cruel joke.

2) Dripping with toxic imperialist-chauvinism. The Contract With Black America exalts the genocidal U.S. military. In its section on judicial and policy reform, it celebrates the Black population's “contribution to our national defense,” and calls for 5 percent of the Defense Department budget to go towards “beautification, education, and youth programs in predominantly Black neighborhoods.” This measure, the authors of the Contract advise the ruling class, will “build goodwill towards the country resulting in greater patriotism, more successful recruitment efforts, and a generally more enthusiastic military population.” Yes, just what world humanity needs: gung-ho Black soldiers “enthusiastic” for imperial slaughter and conquest.

3) Disciplining and controlling the Black population...“take responsibility” and stop blaming the system. In the section on “police reform,” the Contract issues the tired and bankrupt call for “community policing”—tired and bankrupt because, like police review boards and body-cams, these measures have done nothing to stop police terror and murder. Worse than bankrupt, because community policing is a cover for “we'll be able to better keep down the oppressed.” It's a “two-sided” contract, the authors promise the rulers; and from “our” side, when bogus reforms are put in place, “all Americans guilty of a crime [no questions asked] and apprehended agree not to unreasonably resist arrest.” 

And in this same section on “Black Americans Responsibility,” the Contract declares: as “we gain social and economic equality, we must begin to dissolve any bitterness in our hearts for past wrongs...” and “step up after we pass the Contract with no more excuse left in the kiddie.” Let bygones be bygones.

This is a program of accommodation with and enforcement of oppression. As Trump erects a fascist police state, complete with armed militias that murder anti-racist protesters in Kenosha and paramilitary federal troops that terrorize and arbitrarily arrest--and gives the “law and order” green light to pigs in the Black community.  

4) The insidious myth of Black economic empowerment. Donald Trump, like Richard Nixon in the late 1960s, combines murderous white supremacy with proposals for Black capitalism and Black community empowerment. It has been a ruse to accomplish three things: a) cut government social spending to supposedly “let the private sector take the ball;” b) open up some investment opportunities—like so-called “empowerment” and “opportunity” zones—that do little to change the conditions of life of the basic people; and c) build up a stratum of collaborationist Black entrepreneurs and investors. (Don't forget how government-backed lending programs enabled banks in the early 2000s to profit from sub-prime mortgages in poor and Black communities that ultimately devastated communities.) 

These proposals do nothing—have done nothing—to transform deeply entrenched segregation in housing and education, and discrimination in the larger economy. But, always, with the honeyed promises of community economic development come the marauding police and mass incarceration.  

A basic and revealing fact: when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, Black people owned .5 percent of the wealth of the country; today it has barely changed, at less than 2 percent! A basic and revealing fact: over the last 50 years, the Black unemployment rate has been twice that of white workers. But zombie-like come the “bold” and “new” calls to “increase access to capital” in Black communities, with the promise that this will solve poverty and inequality. In the late 60s, when Nixon was president, this was part of a deliberate strategy to defuse and suppress the Black liberation struggle. And, now, in the wake of the beautiful uprising this spring-summer against systemic racism and police murder of Black people, Ice Cube is the high-profile messenger of a dead-end program—all the better to eat you with... 

5) Because this illusion of Black economic empowerment goes hand in hand with Donald Trump's genocidal racism. Bob Avakian has written incisively and urgently on what Trump actually believes and is prepared to carry out in relation to Black people (see Donald Trump—GENOCIDAL RACIST). Read this series, if you don't believe that Donald Trump would do something as extreme as kill off large numbers of Black people and others of color whom he has demonized and criminalized. 

In another article, “Racial Oppression Can Be Ended—But Not Under This System,” Avakian analyzes deep structural changes that underlie the possibility of such a genocidal program. He looks at how developments in the world imperialist system and changes in the U.S. economy, in particular the intensified globalization of production, have

together with increased automation and “cybernation” of production, when combined with the ongoing segregation and discrimination built into this system, has led to a situation where huge numbers of Black people, and especially youth, have, for generations now, not only been unemployed but are left with no prospect of meaningful employment in the regular (“formal”) economy.

In other words, a huge segment of the Black population becomes a “surplus” population—that is, expendable from the standpoint of profit-making production. For decades, police terror and murder and the warehousing through mass incarceration of huge swaths of the Black population have constituted a kind of “slow genocide” of Black people. Under current conditions, given Donald Trump's white supremacist ideology and personality, this slow genocide could become a “fast genocide.” 

The enormity of economic and social suffering that Black people experience...the discrimination and inequality...unrelenting, racist police violence—all this is all born of a system, capitalism-imperialism, that has NO solution to these horrors. That is no excuse or rationale for the likes of Ice Cube to wheel and deal with Trump and his fascist regime. No more an excuse or rationale than for the Jewish “leaders” who served on the Judenrat, the Jewish councils that propagated and implemented Nazi polices in Poland and eastern Europe during World War 2...and ultimately collaborating with genocide. 

Ice Cube released the Contract With Black America with a video entitled “What's In It For Us?” For the Cube, maybe a few crumbs and more. For the masses, unspeakable horror if Trump secures four more years. 

by Bob Avakian

Or read it here.



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