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How Should We Respond To Andrew Tate?

Andrew Tate is the most searched person on the Internet as this article is being written. A former professional kickboxer and lifestyle influencer, known for his scathing, queerphobic, and misogynistic remarks, was recently banned from almost all major social media platforms. Tate discussed the ban in his most recent interview with Piers Morgan. During the interview, Tate and Morgan “debated” his toxic views and influence on young men. 

Tate first gained attention in 2017 for his remarks on the flood of sexual assault cases against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. He utilized his platform to build a loyal following of men and boys who felt alienated in modern society. He broadcast his content as “self-improvement” for men through misogynistic violence.

Tate also promoted his business, Hustler’s University, on TikTok. His overall message revolves around the idea of men’s need to “escape the matrix.” Rather than offer a clear and concise meaning of what this is, Tate identifies the culprits and blames the suffering of men on capitalism and the purported “matriarchy.” Yet, Tate is not simply another white men’s rights activist. His story is more nuanced than political pundits have portrayed, which is part of the problem.

The son of prominent Black chess champion Emory Tate, Andrew Tate broke onto the scene as an athlete. He was ranked 7th in Britain by the International Sport Kickboxing Association in the light-heavyweight category. 

Andrew Tate has described his upbringing as poor and transient, having moved around the States until resettling in Luton, a working-class town in Britain. Tate has now relocated to Romania, where he dons suits that look like they restrict the circulation in his bulging triceps, and posting pictures for his Instagram, standing alongside fancy sports cars and modelesque women. He is a self-described as a self-made success story, a recreation of himself from an underdog kickboxer (and reality show guest star booted for his misogynistic and homophobic views) into an erudite and disciplined role model in his own mind’s eye. 

His solution to their alienation is becoming wealthy, as a means to take back their power and restore moral order. Undoubtedly reactionary, Tate’s broadcasts resonate with many of these socially and economically insecure young men. Our traditionally capitalist, patriarchal, and white supremacist system has built a sense of entitlement into young people, but the system often fails them. In turn, they look for a scapegoat to explain their troubles, and Tate offers the solution in his attacks on the “Left” and feminism.

In many ways, Tate’s rhetoric aligns with Trump and other far-right populists in our current era. But Tate is feverishly apolitical, and has room to (re)create himself in an act of self-promotion (and haste).

Tate’s approach, however, diverges from mainstream right-wing misogyny: an individual in his thinking who even attempts to substantiate his remarks with real-world statistics. He has spoken frequently about the rate of suicide for men, which is critically higher than that for women and non-men. But he is not an advocate for mental health support for men and boys– as the very patriarchal masculinity he sells is why men and boys tend to idealize ending their lives. His approach is a distortion of the truth, as a devastating consequence of the dominance of the matriarchy, not naming the damage of the patriarchy as the culprit. But Tate’s concern isn’t to be a role model for a healthier lifestyle; he’s driven by capital. 

Another caveat to Tate’s rhetoric is its echoes of a classical class reductionist Marxist idealism. According to Tate in a YouTube short, “rich people don’t talk about racism.” Tate goes on to talk about how “the racism is for the poor people because if you keep the poor people divided, they can’t wake up long enough to do what I did and read about how money works. Cause if they do that, then we’ve got big trouble. Then the slaves will wake up. You don’t want to deprogram the slaves. So you have to convince the slaves that its not the monetary’s system fault that you’re broke, It’s not the monetary’s systems fault that you continue to work for a set number of dollars and the price of houses keeps going up and up…It’s the white’s mans fault, or the black man’s fault, or the asian people’s fault. Someone else’s fault. I think all this stuff-, feminism, racism…all these things…i think they are all control mechanisms. They have to keep the poor people fighting amongst each other. Because If the poor people all unite, it’s much harder to control us.”

In some this quote encapsulates what Tate is market and potentially how dangerous he is. Similar to how he points to real statistics of men killing themselves, he points to real economic insecurity such as the rising cost of housing despite the fact that wages have remained stagnant. He refers to capitalism as the “monetary system”, another reveal of his right wing conspiracy views unable to even name capitalism for what it is. Tate is inadequate in his understanding of intersectional identities as all being interlocked, rather than falsifications created to “control people” with his constant bemoaning of matriarchy. However, this is where we see how the popular liberal representations of anti-racism and feminism fail. Tate and other types of populists are able to maneuver into space that criticizes “identity politics” of the liberal left while at the same moment appearing to have some degree of class consciousness. 

In another interview, Tate provides his take on the failures of the Western world, such as increased police state violence, higher taxation, and the inherent authoritativeness of politics. Yet, it seems Tate only remarks as he has already removed himself from all of these issues, by virtue of his wealth. It’s a bizarre and half-baked understanding of the world that speaks to the ideological incoherence of the far right and the Internet. Naming women, the government, and the police, as the enemies of men, whilst undoubtedly a capitalist, makes him no less an enemy himself to his audience.

Despite this, Tate is a vehement anti-communist and anti-socialist as he constantly bemoans the role of communists destroying soiciety. His “waking up the poor” looks like voting for populists and financial self improvement pyramid scheme classes. However, the unfortunate reality about Tate is that his politics do have a certain appeal to large numbers of men. To some degree, Tate is correct that to be a good man within the capitalist system is to be like him. It would be easy to point to Andrew Tate if he were just another broke and enraged incel behind a computer screen, as irrelevant.

The Left (and moderate) approach to Tate has been censorship, including those willing to debate him. The mainstream reaction to him is to mock, interject, or impose a liberal rhetoric, a confrontation or reckoning of the same violence that he promotes. 

Avoiding Tate only gives him room to flex and regroup; he can say that he isn’t a “misogynist”–after spewing blatantly misogynistic remarks–with a straight face, and still critique the current  “world order” as perverse and in need of reversal to a “traditional” past, where women held less power. While the Left fumbles with taking a strike at the right, Tate holds a mass following of men around the world in a current climate that is becoming increasingly reactionary and nationalist. 

Tate may be anomalous, but his politics are not unique to that of many men in the West. His ideas are more popular and on a subconscious level, a lot of men think the same, but may not vocalize those thoughts. 

Current social movements have avoided counteractive measures to characters like Tate and his idea, let alone resolving the internalized conflict and harm by men under patriarchy. as per avoidance as taking a moral high ground, hence why they continue to hold strong and have appeal. A reason for that, it can be argued, is that many recent social movements have been compromised by capital too.  

While making no excuses for patriarchal violence, we find that the Left must reorient its approach to actively combat patriarchy as a central struggle. The reality is that there does not currently exist a clear vision of what that definitely will look like, it would mean an ego death for men by will approaching the ideas of people like Tate, and as not so perversely removed from their own socialization. 

Until there is a leftist discourse that meets Andrew Tate on the basis of gender and class, he will maintain a following. As incoherent and inconsistent as his rhetoric is, his feverish confidence points to the failures of the Left to seriously engage with patriarchy. His encouragement of extreme violence and competitiveness for capital as his solution to “escape the matrix” will continue to impress upon and echo that of many other aspects of how gut-wrenching the problem is with liberating men and boys from hierarchical gender. 

Alienation and loneliness left unaddressed breeds frustration. The many men and young boys whose compromised ability to see past their own pain, to identify the source of their own suffering as white supremacist capitalism patriarchy, rather than attacking women and queer people. Canceling Tate from any media visibility only increases his appeal. There must be a rigorous and active response that is rooted in anticapitalism to match him and strike back.

L McGowan-Arnold
Contributor at The Commoner | + posts

Luke is another 20-something floating around in the American Wasteland. A recent Haverford College grad, he studied political science and black studies with a focus on black political theory. He is interested in writing and speculating about racial capitalism, the decline of American society, youth culture, DIY music, traveling and everything else. He also makes music under his moniker Huey, The Cosmonaut. He's passionate about space cowboys, martial arts, hard cider and audiobooks.

Lu Gibson
Contributor at The Commoner | + posts

Lu Gibson is a blogger with interest in articulating anti-Blackness in marginalized histories, identity and global politics, and media. They were unsure of what to put here to constitute as a legit bio. They have experiencing Black and Brown growing spaces, seed keeping, and attended Temple University for Black Studies. This is their first collaborative project, and are eager for more to come.

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