If you google “Andrew Tate”, you will discover that he is one of the most googled individuals in the world, and thus the cycle continues. Tate is a far-right misogynist megalomaniac who currently sits in a Romanian jail, suspected of human trafficking, while his fans cry out that their “Top G” has been framed: another victim of the Matrix. The Tate phenomenon is horrifying., a morbid symptom of a sick system.
Tate’s misogyny is genuinely jaw dropping. His rhetoric alone makes Donald Trump seem mild mannered. He thinks women bear responsibility for being raped, and talks openly about beating and choking “his” women and trashing their possessions if they try to leave him.
“It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck. Shut up bitch”, he explains of his response if a woman accused him of cheating. He says he likes young women that he can control and make an “imprint” on. Several of the women in his videos are branded with the tattoos “Tate’s girl” or “Tate’s property”.
“I fuck women so I can get what I actually want. Which is not them. They are a means to an end”, he explains in one of his videos. Tate says that he began making money from pornography by getting his four girlfriends to produce hours of footage for him each day, the proceeds of which were then pocketed by him and his brother. This sexcam business reportedly expanded to 75 women in four countries, raking in millions. Romanian prosecutors say that those arrested (Tate, his brother and two other associates) “appear to have created an organised crime group with the purpose of recruiting, housing and exploiting women by forcing them to create pornographic content”.
Tate is hardly an outlier in the porn industry, despite attempts by some to portray it as a form of liberation. Maria Boroghina, for example, makes millions from a sexcam business employing 160 models in a glitzy studio in central Bucharest. She has been favourably contrasted with Tate and insists that Tate does not represent the industry. But the sexcam business, like pornography and sex work more generally, exists because sexism and the objectification of women are rife in our society.
The myth that “camgirls” are independent, safe and having fun in their bedrooms is a sexist fantasy peddled by the industry. Sexcamming involves high levels of trafficking, coercion and hyper-exploitation. Sexcam sites take up to 75 percent of a model’s earnings, and bosses often control their passwords and accounts, as well as the sex acts that they perform. In Romania, which has the largest number of women involved of any country, the industry has close links to the mafia.
Tate’s other business interests include gambling, crypto investing and of course, social media influencing—endeavours that don’t exactly rely on intelligence and talent. He claims that he is the world’s first trillionaire and that he can help young men become gangster capitalists.
In reality, Tate is a Bottom G. Unlike others in the current cohort of famous lowlife rich men—like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos—Tate doesn’t command a global empire. His self-declared wealth is overstated, as is his claim to own several casinos. A recent Guardian investigation found no evidence of these enterprises, only a few slot machines in a couple of seedy arcades in Bucharest. Tate is a petty scrounger, making money by hook or by crook, scrambling desperately upwards, kicking everyone beneath him in the teeth.
One of his biggest ventures is the online “Hustler’s University”, recently rebranded as “The Real World”. It is a scam within a scam. Tate makes money through $50-a-month subscriptions from students. He builds his brand by getting the students to post video content of him on social media to recruit more wannabe gangsters. In exchange, Tate and his band of “professors” provide tips and tricks to make quick money, which soon will be followed by riches, women, luxury cars, status, power and, of course, more money.
It’s all a fantasy, a pathetic teenage boy fantasy combining Fast & Furious, James Bond, gangster rap, Mein Kampf and Milton Friedman. It is a cartoonish version of everything that capitalist ideology promotes: human nature as little more than ruthless competition, the rules of the market being akin to the laws of nature, entrepreneurs as “wealth creators”, individual success measured by the accumulation of material goods, the valorisation of self-absorption, and so on.
Tate says that to make fantasy a reality, men need to practise far-right mindfulness and free themselves from the Matrix, which he describes as “the systems which are being created by society that are deliberately designed to enslave”. Basically, to become free, his teenage followers just need to stop thinking of themselves as weak and subservient and instead become confident, ruthless alpha males who are prepared to fuck over everyone in their path. If they fork out even more money, they can join the exclusive “war room” training camp where they can gain access to even better educational activities, like how to fight in a cage like a real man.
Tate’s affiliations with the far right are well documented. He collaborates with extreme right conspiracy theorists and other male supremacists. He is an admirer of Donald Trump and Alex Jones and has long-running connections with known fascists, including the notorious UK Nazi Stephen Lennon. His politics represent a specific brand of far-right extremism that has been growing and becoming more dangerous since the “alt-right” came to prominence in the 2014 Gamergate campaign.
Gamergate was an outpouring of violent sexist rage involving torrents of abuse towards women in the gaming world, including rape and death threats, and a collective wallowing in perceived male victimhood. It was a fusion of men’s rights activism and the far right.
Since then, the “manosphere”—online communities built around savage hatred towards women and LGBT people—has expanded and become a fertile recruitment ground for the far right and fascists, as well as self-help gurus like Jordan Peterson. Peterson brought a faux-intellectual element to the table with his pseudo-scientific blather about natural hierarchies of domination among humans.
For all their supposed edginess or rebel posturing, Peterson, Tate and their associated cohorts of con artists are champions of the capitalist order. For them, the best and truest social system is one in which individuals compete for resources. Within such a society, the strong succeed while the weak suffer. Challenging supposedly natural inequalities, like those between men and women, distorts the natural order and oppresses those who would otherwise succeed. Like Peterson, Tate professes to offer practical advice for men to stand up and take back what is “rightfully” theirs.
To most, Tate is a first-rate loser who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org (thanks Greta Thunberg). But he undeniably has a large fan base. There is no shortage of media commentary and musings about the reasons why. Many attribute it to a combination of his canny talent for self-promotion and the vulnerability of young men. Others cite concerning trends in social attitudes among young people, especially men, towards women.
The trends are certainly alarming. According to a recent Deloitte report mapping social attitudes towards women, people born between 1995 and 2010—“Generation Z”—on some questions rate worse than any other generation, including those born in the 1930s.
According to the report, sexist attitudes are particularly high in Australia. Thirty percent of all Australian men think that gender inequality doesn’t exist (this was the highest of all countries except Saudi Arabia), and 28 percent of men think that women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape (this is higher than any other Western country included in the survey).
Few look for an explanation of these trends beyond the world of social media influencers and manipulative algorithms. But the far right is a major factor. Far-right parties are in government in many countries in Eastern Europe, in India, in Italy, and recently were in office in Brazil and the US. They have used their prominence and power to push a reactionary agenda: to roll back basic rights for women, to deny rights to trans people, to double down on the already extensive oppression faced by immigrants. This has normalised reactionary political attitudes and created facts on the ground that reinforce the right’s vision of an oppressive society. For instance, the repeal of Roe vs. Wade was significant in pushing back against women’s political gains.
Abortion rights were repealed, not under Trump, but under Biden, demonstrating that the liberal establishment is no bulwark against reaction. Not only do centrist politicians provide fodder to the far right by putting forward a cynical and faux-progressive agenda promoting identity diversity while entrenching class inequality; they also oversee the structural forms of oppression that exist throughout society. In the case of women, there is the gender pay gap, the unequal division of labour in the home and the rampant sexual objectification that has been monetised by the booming global sex industry.
As well as presiding over gender inequality, all sides of the capitalist establishment promote the ruthless ideology at the heart of Tate’s politics: that market capitalism is a natural, hierarchical order in which the strong rise and the weak fall—at best being cushioned by a minimal “safety net” of temporary social supports. Those who can’t learn the arts of entrepreneurship and self-promotion are destined to scrabble around in the dirt, while those who can deserve all the wealth they can get.
Tate is basically what you get when you distil capitalism and its toxic ideology into its most unadulterated form.
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