NIJ - International Center - U.N Activities - La Cosa Nostra in the US La Cosa Nostra or LCN -- also known as the Mafia, the mob, the outfit. Cosa Nostra, a FOSS graph based malware clusterization toolkit. - joxeankoret/ cosa-nostra. For most of the twentieth century, what has been called the “Mafia,” “Cosa Nostra, ” or simply “organized crime” seemed as inevitable as increased taxes.
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Indeed, since Cosa Nostra is a secret organization, it has a rule that its members must not tell their blood family members anything about its affairs. For the same. PDF | An unprecedented law enforcement attack, coupled with new civil and Cosa Nostra can be distinguished from other organized crime. A PPT presentation introducing the Sicilian mafia, in its origins, organization, famous clans, major events and the protagonists of the anti-Mafia movement. Prepared by a student whose family comes from Corleone, a village that is unfortunately famous for hosting the most.
Encouraged by the magistrate, Dr Galati treated the wounded warden himself, tending him day and night. Providing a deep theme experience it leads you down into the dark world of modern mafia stories. The notes that Franchetti actually took during the journey have only recently been published; two of the many stories that emerge from those notes can serve to explain the shock of his encounter with Sicily. His shameless authoritarianism had made him both a threat and an easy target for rival faction leaders on the Left. Both men recognize that honour has been offended, that vendetta is a right, and that a duel is the only way to settle the debt. It gives protection to and gets help from traders.
This need for trust also explains the components of mafia honour that relate to sex and marriage. Moreover, if a mafioso gambles, womanizes, and parades his wealth, he is likely to be considered unreliable and therefore expendable.
Keeping to these rules is an important way of showing your fellow men of honour that you can be trusted. For example, there are work social events that usually revolve around manly pursuits like hunting parties and banquets. Honour is also about loyalty. As was appropriate, he did not ask questions. What he knew about his relatives in Cosa Nostra he gleaned from hearsay, and from the media; thus he was unaware for a long time that his father was boss of the local mandamento district.
The reverse is not true, in the sense that a mafia boss has an absolute right to keep watch over the personal lives of his men. It is crucial that individual mafiosi make a sensible choice of marital partner and behave honourably within marriage. Mafiosi have an even greater need than other husbands to keep their spouses sweet, simply because a disgruntled mafia wife could do extensive damage to the whole Family by talking to the police.
Women may also actively support the work of their men, albeit in a subordinate role. Women cannot formally be admitted to the mafia and honour is exclusively a male quality. Judge Falcone once compared entering the mafia to being a convert to a religion: Or a mafioso. Catania boss Nitto Santapaola had an altar and a little chapel constructed in his villa; according to one pentito, he also once had four kids garrotted and thrown in a well for mugging his mother.
Clergymen have often treated men whose power is based on routine murder as if they were sinners of the same ilk as everyone else. They have overlooked the evil influence of the mafia because it seems to share the same values of deference, humility, tradition, and family as the Church.
They have accepted donations drawn from criminal wealth for processions and charity. They have been content to see cosche plural of cosca disguise themselves as religious confraternities, and to entrust the administration of charity funds to dignitaries with blood on their hands.
Some churchmen have even been killers. But the point is not, as some would wish to claim, that the mafia is little more than a branch of the Catholic Church. In fact, the secret of mafia religion is that it serves the same purposes as the code of honour; it merely expresses the same things in a different language.
Mafia religion generates a sense of belonging, trust, and a set of flexible rules by borrowing words from the Catholic creed, just as the code of honour does so by aping the chivalric terms that were still used by the nobility when the mafia began. Men of Honour 33 Like mafia honour, mafia religion helps mafiosi justify their actions—to themselves, to each other, and to their families. Indeed, the religion professed by mafiosi and their families is like so much else in the moral universe of mafia honour, in that it is difficult to tell where genuine—if misguided—belief ends, and cynical deceit begins.
Understanding how the mafia thinks means understand- ing that the rules of honour mesh with calculated deceit and heartless savagery in the mind of every member. As such, it has nothing to do with Sicilian traditions, or chivalry, or Catholicism. When it is working well, the code produces a proud sense of fellowship.
It means abandoning both an identity and a dense fabric of friendships and family ties; it means trying to find a way of coming to terms with a life built on murder; it means incurring an automatic death sentence. He sensed the suspicion growing among the mafiosi held in cells on the same wing.
As the pressure mounted, it began to show— he let his beard grow and neglected to clean his clothes. Instead, on 28 July , he used the laces of his tennis shoes to hang himself in his cell. This evening I will find the peace and serenity that I lost some seventeen years ago [at initiation into Cosa Nostra]. When I lost them, I became a monster.
I was a monster until I took pen in hand to write these lines. Before I go, I ask for forgiveness from my mother and from God, because their love has no limits. The whole of the rest of the world will never be able to forgive me. The historical question raised by this picture of life inside Cosa Nostra is simply: Pentiti may have talked to the police on many occasions, but when they did, they tended to talk about specific crimes and not about what it felt like to be a mafioso.
But what evidence there is does suggest that something along the same lines as this code of honour existed all along. After all, if it had not existed, then the mafia would not have survived so long; in fact, it might never even have emerged at all.
Their withdrawal was the culmination of one of the most famous military achievements of the century, a feat of patriotic heroism that astonished the rest of Europe. Until that day, Sicily had been ruled from Naples as part of the Bourbon kingdom that encompassed most of southern Italy.
Then, in May , Giuseppe Garibaldi and around 1, volunteers—the famous Redshirts—invaded the island with the aim of uniting it with the new nation of Italy. Palermo was conquered after three days of intense street fighting during which the Bourbon navy bombarded the city.
With Palermo liberated, Garibaldi then led his men—who were now growing in number and becoming an army in their own right—east towards the Italian mainland. On 6 September, the hero was welcomed into Naples itself by cheering crowds, and the following month he handed over his conquests to the King of Italy.
He refused to take any reward, and headed back to his island home of Caprera with little more than his poncho, some basic supplies, and seed for his garden. The mountainous island had a long-standing reputation as a revolutionary powder keg. Garibaldi had succeeded largely because his expedition had triggered another uprising; the Bourbon regime rapidly collapsed in the face of it.
It now became clear that the revolt of had been only the beginning of the trouble. The incorporation of 2. What they found instead— they would often protest—looked like the face of anarchy: There was massive and enraged popular resistance to the introduction of conscription, previously unknown in Sicily.
Many people also seemed to think that the patriotic revolution had entitled them not to pay any tax. In , Garibaldi himself so despaired at the state of the new Italy that he came out of retirement and used Sicily as a base to launch another invasion of the mainland. His objective was to conquer Rome, which still remained under the authority of the Pope. But an Italian army stopped him in the mountains of Calabria, and he was even shot and wounded in the foot.
Rome would not become the capital of Italy until In so doing it set a pattern for the coming years. Unwilling or unable to find the support to pacify Sicily politically, the government repeatedly tried the military solution: But the situation failed to improve. As they had done when Garibaldi attacked in , revolutionary gangs descended on the city from the surrounding hills. There were unsubstantiated rumours of cannibalism and blood drinking by the rebels; martial law was once again the response.
The revolt was quelled, but it was only after ten more years of turmoil and repression that Sicily settled into life as part of Italy. In , for the first time, politicians from the island entered a new coalition government in Rome. Its walls were enclosed by a band of olive and lemon groves, behind which lay an amphitheatre of hills and mountains.
There was the same simplicity to its layout: Despite the damage caused by the Bourbon shelling, Palermo in the s offered numerous attractions for residents and outsiders alike; foremost among them perhaps was the famous sea front. During the seemingly endless summers, once the intense heat of the day had faded, genteel Palermitani took moonlit carriage rides along the Marina, perfumed by its flowering trees; or they sampled ice creams and sorbets while promenading to the sound of favourite opera melodies played by the city band.
Visitors in the early s were often struck by the sheer number of monks and nuns in the streets. Palermo also seemed like a stone palimpsest of cultures stretching back over many hundreds of years. Like the rest of the island, it was layered with the monuments left by countless invaders. For since the ancient Greeks, virtually every Mediterranean power from the Romans to the Bourbons had made Sicily its own.
The island seemed to many as if it were a fabulous display case of Greek amphitheatres and temples, Roman villas, Arab mosques and gardens, Norman cathedrals, Renaissance palaces, baroque churches. Sicily was also imagined in two colours. It had once been the granary of ancient Rome.
For hundreds of years thereafter, wheat grown on vast estates painted the imposing highlands of the interior in golden yellow. When the Arabs conquered Sicily in the ninth century, they brought new irrigation techniques and introduced the groves of citrus fruit trees that tinted the northern and eastern coastal strip with dark green leaves.
Without having a clear idea of what it was, the first people to study the problem assumed that it must be archaic, a leftover from the Middle Ages, some symptom of the centuries of foreign misrule that had kept the island in a backward condition.
Accordingly their first instinct was to look for its source in the golden yellow of the interior highlands, among the ancient grain- producing estates. For all its desolate beauty, the interior of Sicily was a metaphor for everything Italy wanted to leave behind. The great estates were worked by droves of hungry peasants who were exploited by brutal bosses. Many Italians hoped and believed that the mafia was a symptom of this kind of backwardness and poverty, that it was destined to disappear as soon as Sicily emerged from its isolation and caught up with the historical timetable.
Tommaso Buscetta, too, thought that the mafia began in the Middle Ages as a way of resisting French invaders. The mafia began at roughly the time when beleaguered Italian government officials first heard talk of it. The mafia and the new nation of Italy were born together.
Untying those narrative threads and laying them out in the following chapters requires a little chronological dexterity; it means moving back and forth in the turbulent period from to , and a brief loop back through the half-century before then. For if the mafia was not ancient, then neither was the golden yellow of the interior the place where it was born. Lemons had first become prized as an export crop in the late s. Two pillars of the British way of life played their part in this boom.
From , the Royal Navy made their crews take lemons as a cure for scurvy. On a much smaller scale the oil of the bergamot, another citrus fruit, was used to flavour Earl Grey tea; commercial production began in the s. Sicilian oranges and lemons were shipped to New York and London when they were still virtually unknown in the mountains of the Sicilian interior.
In , over , cases of lemons were exported. By , it was , In the mids an astonishing 2. In , citrus cultivation yielded more than sixty times the average profit per hectare for the rest of the island. Nineteenth-century citrus fruit gardens were modern businesses that required a high level of initial investment. Land needed to be cleared of stones and terraced; storehouses and roads had to be built; surrounding walls had to be erected to protect the crop from both the wind and thieves; irrigation channels had to be dug and sluices installed.
Even once the trees had been planted, it took about eight years for them to start producing fruit. Profitability followed several years after that. As well as being investment-intensive, lemon trees are also highly vulnerable. Even a short interruption to water supplies can be devastating.
Vandalism, whether directed at the trees or the fruit, is a constant risk. Although there were and are lemon groves in many coastal regions of Sicily, the mafia was, until relatively recently, overwhelmingly a western Sicilian phenomenon.
It emerged in the area immediately surrounding Palermo. With nearly , inhabitants in , Palermo was the political, legal, and banking centre of western Sicily. More money circulated in the property and rental sectors than anywhere else on the island. It was here that much of the farmland in the surrounding province and beyond was bought, sold, and rented.
Palermo also set the political agenda. The mafia was born not of poverty and isolation, but of power and wealth. The lemon groves just outside Palermo were the setting for the story of the first person persecuted by the mafia ever to leave a detailed account of his misfortunes.
He was a respected surgeon, Gaspare Galati. Almost everything that is known about Dr Galati as a person—his courage most notably—emerges from the testimony he would later submit to the authorities, who subsequently confirmed the authenticity of what he wrote. In , Dr Galati came to manage an inheritance on behalf of his daughters and their maternal aunt.
The fondo was a model enterprise: But when he took control of it, Gaspare Galati was well aware that the huge investment in the business was in danger. Two months before his death, he had learned from the steam-pump operator that the sender of the letters was the warden on the fondo, Benedetto Carollo, who had dictated them to someone who knew how to read and write.
Carollo may have been uneducated, but he had attitude: Galati describes him swaggering about as if he owned the farm, and it was widespread knowledge that he creamed 20—25 per cent off the sale price of its produce; he even stole the coal intended for the steam engine.
Between the Sicilian groves where the lemons grew, and the shops in northern Europe and America where consumers bought them, a host of agents, wholesale merchants, packagers, and transporters plied their trade. Financial speculation lubricated every stage of the process, beginning while the lemons were still on the trees; as a way of offsetting the high initial costs and spreading the risk of a poor harvest, citrus businesses usually sold the crop well before the fruit was ripe.
Upon taking control of the Riella fruit farm from his brother-in-law, Dr Galati resolved to save himself trouble and lease it to someone else. Carollo had other ideas. When prospective tenants came to view the fondo, he made his views abundantly clear to them as he showed them round: The doctor stood firm. At around 10 P.
The attackers had made a terraced platform out of stones inside another grove so that they could shoot him from behind the surrounding wall—a method used in many early mafia hits.
The victim died in hospital in Palermo a few hours later. An inspector ignored this lead and arrested two men who had no connection with the victim.
Subsequently they were released when no evidence was found against them. Despite this lack of support from the police, Dr Galati hired another warden. Looking back a year later, by which time he had found out exactly what he was up against, Dr Galati was able to explain this new terminology: He was promised that Carollo and his associates, who included an adopted son, would be arrested. But the inspector—the same man who earlier had sent the investigation down a false trail—was not so keen.
Three weeks passed before he took Carollo and his son into custody, and even then they were released after two hours on the grounds that they had nothing to do with the crime. Galati became convinced that the inspector was in league with the criminals. Father Rosario, a man with a record as a police spy under the old Bourbon regime, was also a prison chaplain and took advantage of his role to ferry messages to and from inmates. But Father Rosario was not the leader of the gang.
He had been born into a desperately poor peasant family and had started his working life as a labourer. The revolts of and gave him the chance he needed to show his mettle and win important friends. By , at the age of fifty-five, Giammona was a man of status; he owned property worth some , lire, the Chief of Police of Palermo reported.
He was strongly suspected of having executed several fugitives from justice to whom he had at first given shelter. Their deaths became necessary, the police thought, when they started to steal from local properties while under his protection. Giammona was also known to have received a sum of money along with instructions to carry out mysterious business on behalf of a criminal from near Corleone who had fled to the United States to escape prosecution.
The Uditore mafia based their power on running protection rackets in the lemon groves. They could force landowners to accept their men as stewards, wardens, and brokers.
Giammona was not just picking on Dr Galati; he was orchestrating a concerted campaign to control the citrus fruit industry of the whole Uditore area.
New threatening letters arrived: But he was fortified by the knowledge that his complaints had led to the removal of the police inspector whom he suspected of collusion with the mafia.
Dr Galati also reasoned that the mafia was unlikely to take the risk of killing a man of property and status like himself, so he decided to ignore the ultimatum. Just after the deadline passed, in January , his new warden was shot three times in broad daylight.
Benedetto Carollo and two other former workers on the fondo were arrested on suspicion. Before the warden collapsed from his wounds, he was able to see and identify his attackers. At first, lying in hospital, he did not respond to police questions.
Then, as his fever rose and death seemed near, he called for the investigating magistrate and gave a statement: Encouraged by the magistrate, Dr Galati treated the wounded warden himself, tending him day and night. He never went out without his revolver and kept his wife and daughters at home.
Dr Galati was told that he, his wife and daughters would be stabbed, perhaps on their way out of the theatre; the blackmailers clearly knew that Dr Galati had a season ticket. Nevertheless there seemed to be a hint of desperation to these latest blackmail letters.
Dr Galati became more hopeful that, with a case being prepared and a witness ready to testify, Benedetto Carollo had finally been cornered. As soon as he was well enough to move, he went to Antonino Giammona and asked to make peace. He was invited to celebrate the deal at a banquet, after which he changed his statement and the case against Carollo collapsed. Without even waiting to say goodbye to his relatives and friends, Dr Galati took his family and fled to Naples, leaving behind his property and a client list that he had taken a quarter of a century to build up.
All that he could then do was to send a memorandum to the Minister of the Interior in Rome in August Nothing had been done to investigate these crimes.
A war to control the citrus fruit industry in the area was going on while the police force remained impassive. A capable young police officer was put to work on the Galati case. It turned out that, like his murdered predecessor, the second replacement warden was a fearsome character.
Although Dr Galati either did not know it or would not admit it, the likelihood is that both of the wardens he employed were also affiliated to the mafia. He was probably being used all along in a war between rival mafia cosche. The Uditore mafia responded to the new investigation by showing off its friends.
A series of landowners and politicians lined up behind Antonino Giammona. In the end, a police caution and intensified surveillance were the only response that the authorities could muster. As will become clear later, the origins of the mafia are closely related to the origins of an untrustworthy state—the Italian state.
The case also produced evidence of the most distinctive component of all: When Dr Giuseppe Galati sent his memorandum to the Minister of the Interior in , he provoked the Minister into asking for a report from the Chief of Police of Palermo.
It is in this report that the Chief of Police revealed the mafia initiation ritual for the first time. Then the oath of loyalty would be taken as the image was burned and its ashes scattered, thus symbolizing the annihilation of all traitors.
Now a huge and intricate field of investigation has opened up for the authorities. The ritual undergone by Brusca makes for a striking comparison with the version, and that comparison creates a better understanding of how and why it made sense for the mafia to be a secret association right from the outset.
The man who would later blow up Judge Falcone at Capaci was initiated young, at nineteen. The fact that his father was a boss had helped put him on the fast track; his first murder was already behind him.
About committing crimes? He did not know it but the initiation had already begun. At a certain point, the others gathered in a room, leaving Brusca outside. The men of honour began to fire questions at Brusca: Among the statutes of the organization that Riina set out to Brusca that day was the now famous one relating to introductions. No one is allowed to introduce himself as a mafioso, even to another man of honour. My tooth hurts! Mine too. When did yours hurt? On the day of Our Lady of the Annunciation.
Where were you? Passo di Rigano. And who was there? Nice people. Who were they? Antonino Giammona, number 1. Alfonso Spatola, number 2, etc. And how did they do the bad deed? They drew lots and Alfonso Spatola won. He took a saint, coloured it with my blood, put it in the palm of my hand, and burned it. He threw the ashes in the air. Who did they tell you to adore? The Genesis of the Mafia 47 B: The sun and the moon.
And who is your god? What kingdom do you belong to? The index finger. Passo di Rigano, mentioned here, is another village on the outskirts of Palermo.
This original recognition ceremony is more cumbersome and less reliable than the contemporary version explained to Giovanni Brusca. One wonders how the two mobsters know which of them is supposed to take the lead. All the same, for the first time this strange dialogue confirms something very simple and very important about the early mafia: More than anything else about the mafia, the initiation ritual bolsters wide- spread myths about how ancient the organization is.
In reality, it is as modern as everything else about the mafia. It was almost certainly borrowed originally from the Masons. Masonic secret societies, which were imported to Sicily from France via Naples around , rapidly became very popular among ambitious middle- class opponents of the Bourbon regime. The societies had initiation ceremonies, of course, and some of their meeting rooms were adorned with bloody daggers as a warning to potential traitors.
In Sicily such groups sometimes developed into political factions and even criminal gangs; one official report from tells of a carbonaro circle involved in cornering local government contracts. Becoming a single, secret association using Masonic-style rites of this kind offered many advantages to the mafia. Creating a sinister ceremony, and a constitution that has the punishment of traitors as its first article, helped create trust because it was a sensible way of putting up the price of betrayal among criminals who might normally betray each other without a second thought.
In that way, the high risks involved in running protection rackets would be reduced for everyone who joined. The ritual was probably particularly effective in keeping ambitious and aggressive younger members in line.
The secret society also offered a system of mutual guarantees with neighbouring gangs that would allow each cosca to operate relatively unmolested on its own patch. Many illegal activities, like cattle rustling and smuggling, involved not only travelling across territories ruled by other gangs but also finding trustworthy business partners all the way along the route. Membership of the association offered the guarantees required by all parties involved in these activities.
Yet it still remains to explain where the mafia came from. The road he travelled ran through the prosperous countryside just outside the city walls; it was lined with lemon trees.
At a point between the villages of Noce and Olivuzza, five men firing from different points at the roadside shot down the horses of his carriage before taking aim at the occupant. Turrisi Colonna and his driver were quick to pull out their revolvers and return fire while they ran for cover.
A blast of his shotgun was followed by a scream of pain from the roadside greenery. The would-be assassins gave up and dragged their wounded companion away. Turrisi Colonna wrote a study titled Public Security in Sicily the year after he was attacked. It was the first of many books published after the unification of Italy that made the Sicilian mafia a subject of analysis, controversy, and confusion.
With the benefit of hindsight afforded by the work of Judge Falcone, historians now also have a good idea of which participants in the earliest debates about the mafia to believe. Turrisi Colonna turns out to have provided a peculiarly well-informed and credible account.
Part of the reason why Turrisi Colonna is such a good witness derives from his status and the important role he played in the dramas of the early s. He had an impeccable record as an Italian patriot. He was already a member of the Italian parliament when he wrote his little book on the crime issue in Much later, in the s, Turrisi Colonna would serve twice as mayor of Palermo. Even today he is honoured with a marble bust in the committee room of the Palazzo delle Aquile, the seat of the Palermo city council.
Turrisi Colonna had an equanimity equal to his status. Law and order was a burning political issue when he wrote his pamphlet in The government was trying to claim that the opposition was conspiring against the new Italian state and was bent on causing disorder to further its aims.
Opposition politicians maintained that the government was amplifying the law and order crisis in an effort to brand them as criminals. Turrisi Colonna took a careful line that would have pleased neither camp: We should not delude ourselves any more. In Sicily there is a sect of thieves that has ties across the whole island. The sect protects and is protected by everyone who has to live in the countryside, like the lease-holding farmers and herdsmen.
It gives protection to and gets help from traders. The police hold little or no fear for the sect because it is confident that it will have no trouble in slipping away from any police hunt. The courts too hold little fear for the sect: This sect, Turrisi Colonna guessed, was about twenty years old. In each area it recruited its affiliates from the brightest peasants, the wardens who guarded estates around Palermo, and the legions of smugglers who brought grain and other heavily taxed items past the customs posts that the city depended on for its income.
In some places the sect was so well organized, receiving political protection from the disreputable factions that dominated local government, that it could frighten any citizen. Even some honest men found themselves turning to the sect in the hope that it might be able to bring some semblance of safety to the countryside. Driven by its hatred of the brutal and corrupt Bourbon police, the sect had offered its services to the revolutions of and He mentions the kind of kangaroo court that can be found in many later tales of mafia business; the sect members meet to decide the fate of any of their number who has broken the rules—with a death sentence a frequent outcome.
In its rules, this evil sect regards any citizen who approaches a carabiniere [military policeman] and talks to him, or even exchanges a word or a greeting with him, as a villain to be punished with death.
No one should provide the police or judiciary with facts that help uncover any crime whatsoever. The balance, astuteness, and honesty that Turrisi Colonna demonstrated in his account of the sect was matched by his gentlemanly reserve.
But reasons have now emerged for suspecting that they may not have lived for very long afterwards. A dozen years later, on 1 March , Leopoldo Franchetti and Sidney Sonnino, two wealthy, high-minded young Jewish intellectuals from Tuscany, arrived in Palermo with a friend and their manservant to conduct a private investigation into the state of Sicilian society. There was even uncertainty about how to spell it: Franchetti and Sonnino had no doubts that the mafia was a dangerous form of criminality, and intended to blow away the mist of different opinions that enveloped it.
Here they say he is linked to the mafia. We want to hear what he has to say. Mind you do not tell anyone what I have told you about Baron Turrisi Colonna and his supposed links with the maffia.
Some friend of his could write to him about it and that would do us a nasty service. Rumours of his mafia connections were widespread; even members of his own political grouping were expressing their concerns about him at court in Rome. In , Turrisi Colonna had made a leading sect member into a captain of his National Guard unit. The man was chosen because of his authority and military experience; earlier he had led one of the revolutionary gangs that descended on Palermo from the surrounding countryside as the patriotic revolution spread.
The man in question was a canny thug named Antonino Giammona—the same Antonino Giammona who would later orchestrate the takeover of the Fondo Riella from Dr Galati. In three separate interviews with Franchetti and Sonnino in , Turrisi Colonna was his usual lucid self on matters of economics.
In addition to his interest in the sect, he was a forward-thinking farmer and an agronomist with a long list of academic publications on the citrus fruit business to his name. But he was uncharacteristically evasive on the crime issue.
To Franchetti and Sonnino he protested their innocence, as, indeed, he had done at the time of the arrests. Landowners like him were the victims, he complained; out on their country estates they were forced to deal with bandits because otherwise they would be unable to protect their valuable crops and trees. He made no mention of a sect.
Other interviewees quickly changed the subject when asked for an opinion of him. Turrisi Colonna embodies the puzzles of the violent years that saw the mafia appear.
He probably based his pamphlet about the sect on inside sources— perhaps even on what he was told by Antonino Giammona himself. When he wrote it, he may also genuinely have hoped that unification with Italy could normalize Sicily. He may have been a victim of mafia intimidation, who wanted a powerful, efficient new state to help landowners like himself put the mafiosi in their place.
If so, these were hopes that he had lost long before he was interviewed by Franchetti and Sonnino in A less generous interpretation is that Turrisi Colonna was never a victim at all. Perhaps Turrisi Colonna was simply the first of many Italian politicians whose pronouncements on the mafia did not match their actions. For all the sophistication of its structure and the insidious grip of its code of honour, the Sicilian mafia would be nothing without its links to politicians like Turrisi Colonna.
If credibility has to be bought with thundering speeches against crime, or with learned diagnoses of the state of law and order in Sicily, then so be it. The mafia deals with politicians in a currency that is rarely printed on the paper of parliamentary proceedings and law books.
Rather it is stamped on the solid gold of small favours: Thus, in public, Turrisi Colonna could take a detached, scientific interest in the sect, gazing down on it from the height of his intellectual and social prestige.
In private, away from the domain of open debate, a close relationship with men like Giammona was integral to his business interests and political support. In September , armed gangs once again marched on the city from the surrounding villages.
Whereas Giam- mona, like many other men of violence, had speculated on revolution in the past, he now realized that the Italian state was a body with which he could do business. Key members of the sect like Giammona were beginning to put their revolutionary past behind them, and as they did so the sect began to enter the bloodstream of the new Italy.
They will only start to tell the truth when the nightmare of the Mafia comes to an end. In , the two men who interviewed Turrisi Colonna published their own research on Sicily in a substantial two-part report.
But it has a unique stature; it is an analysis of the mafia in the nineteenth century that is still considered an authority in the twenty-first. Franchetti would ultimately influence thinking about the mafia more than anyone else until Giovanni Falcone over a hundred years later. Political and Administrative Conditions in Sicily is the first convincing explanation of how the mafia came to be. Both men were great admirers of British liberalism and Sonnino owed his first name to his English mother.
When they travelled to Sicily they were entering a land where the vast majority of the population spoke a dialect they could not understand. In the university and salon milieu that Sonnino and Franchetti left behind, the island was still a mysterious place known primarily from ancient Greek myths and sinister newspaper reports.
So they planned for the considerable stresses and dangers of their journey with the resolve of explorers setting off for uncharted territory.
Among the equipment they took on their journey in the spring of were repeating rifles, large-calibre pistols, and four copper basins each. The plan was to fill the basins with water and stand the legs of their camp- beds in them to keep insects away.
Because roads were poor or non-existent in the interior of the island, the two researchers often travelled on horseback, choosing their routes and guides at the last possible moment to avoid brigand attacks. Franchetti in particular was far from entirely naive when he went to Sicily; two years earlier he had hacked across large areas of the mainland of southern Italy on a similar expedition. The notes that Franchetti actually took during the journey have only recently been published; two of the many stories that emerge from those notes can serve to explain the shock of his encounter with Sicily.
Franchetti recorded that, on 24 March , he and Sonnino rode into the central Sicilian city of Caltanissetta.
Two days earlier, a priest had been shot dead in the nearby village of Barrafranca, a mafia stronghold, according to the authorities who informed them of what had happened. Sixty metres from where the priest lay dying stood a witness, a new arrival in Sicily, a government inspector from the northern city of Turin whose job was to supervise the collection of taxes on milled flour.
Profoundly disturbed, the tax inspector jumped on his horse and rode off to tell the carabinieri. Not wanting to upset them by blurting out what he knew, he told them to follow him to where the priest needed help. Along the way, he gently broke the news. Grateful for his sensitivity, they told him that the murder was the culmination of a twelve-year feud between the priest and his cousin. The priest himself was a wealthy man with a fearsome reputation for violence and corruption.
Twenty-four hours later local police arrested the tax inspector, threw him in jail, and charged him with the murder. Mercifully for the tax inspector, the government authorities in Caltanis- setta got wind of the case; when he was released the real murderer went into hiding. He was carrying a letter from the local mafia detailing what his mother had done.
When he confronted her and asked for money to buy some new clothes, her evasive response triggered a furious row after which the man stormed out. He returned shortly afterwards with his cousin and together they stabbed his mother ten times—the son six times and his cousin four.
They then threw her body out of the window into the street before giving themselves up. Everyone the travellers interviewed during the two months they were in Sicily seemed to have a different understanding of the new buzzword; everyone seemed to accuse everyone else of being a mafioso.
The authorities in some places were confused. As one lieutenant in the carabinieri lamely told them: On the surface, this was the centre of a thriving industry in which the locals took great pride: A patriotic shame burned within him at the thought that foreigners seemed to know Sicily much better than did the Italians. By patiently covering the territory and by studying its history, Franchetti overcame his doubts and confusion.
He produced an account of the mafia business that is starkly systematic. Sicily was not chaotic; on the contrary, its law and order problems had an underlying and very modern rationality to them.
Until the abolition of feudalism, Sicilian history was shaped by tussles between a long series of foreign monarchs and the feudal barons. Baronial privileges were wide-ranging and long-lasting.
A custom dictating that vassals should greet their feudal lord with a kiss on the hand was only formally abolished by Garibaldi in These practices were widespread in Sicily, and were not just mafia habits.
The abolition of feudalism did not immediately do more than change the rules of the tug-of-war between the centre and the provinces. The power of the landowners was slow to fade; the last of the great estates was only broken up in the s. However, forces for long-term change were set loose when feudalism ended; the legal preconditions were put in place for a property market.
Quite simply, bits of the estates could now be bought and sold. And land that is acquired rather than inherited needs to be paid for; it is an investment that has to be put to profitable use. Capitalism had arrived in Sicily. Capitalism runs on investment, and lawlessness puts investment at risk. No one wants to buy new machinery or more land to plant with commercial crops when there is a strong risk that those machines or crops will be stolen or vandalized by competitors.
When it supplanted feudalism, the modern state was supposed to establish a monopoly on violence, on the power to wage war and punish criminals. When the modern state monopolizes violence in this way, it helps create the conditions in which commerce can flourish. Franchetti argued that the key to the development of the mafia in Sicily was that the state had fallen catastrophically short of this ideal.
It was untrustworthy because, after , it failed to establish its monopoly on the use of violence. As feudalism declined, a whole range of men seized the opportunity to shoot and stab their way into the developing economy.
In the city of Palermo, societies of artisans demanded the right to carry arms so that they could police the streets and force up prices or run extortion operations.
When modern local government institutions were set up in the towns of the Sicilian provinces, groups that were part armed criminal gang, part commercial enterprise, and part political clique, quickly organized themselves to get their hands on the spoils. The state also set up its courts, but soon found that they were subject to control by anyone who was tough and well organized enough to impose his will.
Even the police became corrupted. Instead of reporting crime to the authorities, they would often broker or impose deals between the victims and perpetrators of theft.
For example, rather than send stolen cattle along the long chain of intermediaries to the butchers, rustlers could simply ask the captain of the local police to mediate. He would arrange for the stolen animals to be handed back to the original owner in return for money passed on to the rustlers.
Naturally the captain would get a percentage of the deal. In a hellish parody of the capitalist economy, the law was parcelled up and privatized just like the land. Franchetti saw Sicily as being in the grip of a bastard form of capitalist competition. It was a violent market in which there were only notional boundaries between economics, politics, and crime.
In this situation, people hoping to run a business could not rely on the law to protect them, their families, and their economic interests. Violence was an essential asset in any enterprise; the ability to use force was as important as having capital to invest. Indeed, Franchetti thought that in Sicily violence itself had become a form of capital.
Mafiosi, for Franchetti, were entrepreneurs in violence, specialists who had developed what today would be called the most sophisticated business model in the marketplace.
This was what he called the violence industry. As Franchetti wrote, [in the violence industry] the mafia boss. He unifies the management of the crimes committed. Discipline is indispensable in this as in any other industry if abundant and constant profits are to be obtained. He has to adapt to market conditions to choose which operations to carry out, which people to exploit, which form of violence to use.
Men with commercial or political ambitions in Sicily were faced with two alternatives: If Franchetti were around today, he might say that threats and murder belonged to the service sector of the Sicilian economy.
Yet in doing so he makes Sicily sound like a complete anomaly. In fact all capitalism has a bit of the bastard in it, particularly in the early stages. Even the English society that Franchetti so admired had had its violent entrepreneurs. In Sussex in the s, for example, semi-militarized gangs made huge profits for themselves and their contacts by smuggling tea.
They caused a breakdown in law and order by corrupting customs officials, directly confronting troops, and perform- ing armed robberies as a sideline. One historian has described England in the s as resembling a banana republic, its politicians masters in the arts of patronage, nepotism, and the systematic pillaging of the public revenue.
Political and Administrative Conditions in Sicily met with a mixture of hostility and indifference on its release. Many Sicilian reviewers berated its author for ignorant prejudice.
For one thing, his proposals for solving the mafia problem were outlandish and authoritarian: Sicilians were not to be allowed any say at all in how their island was policed.
He seemed not to realize that people very often went along with the mafiosi simply because they were intimidated and did not know whom to trust. After publishing his research in Sicily, he went on to serve as a backbench member of parliament, but his political career did not take off.
In the end, it was the very same grim patriotism that had impelled him to investigate the mafia in that eventually killed him. The mafiusi are a gang of prison inmates whose habits look very familiar in retrospect.
The Genesis of the Mafia 61 I mafiusi di la Vicaria is at heart a sentimental fable about the redemption of criminals. This first ever literary representation of the mafia is also the first ever version of the myth of the good mafia, a mafia that is honourable and protects the weak. Next to nothing is known about the two authors of I mafiusi, other than that they were members of a troupe of travelling players. Sicilian theatrical legend has it that they based I mafiusi on inside information given them by a Palermo tavern owner involved in organized crime.
The character of the gang boss in the play is supposed to be based on this real-life mobster. There is no way of confirming this story, and I mafiusi is consequently destined to remain an enigmatic historical document. But a play alone was not enough to give the mafia its name. Many Sicilians thought that the challenges of ruling their island had led the Italian government completely to abandon its liberal principles.
It was cases like these that completely robbed the state of its credibility, and made many Sicilians very reluctant to trust it on any matter, let alone when it started to complain about the mafia. On the evening of 1 October , in an apparently synchronized operation carried out within the same small area of Palermo, thugs emerged from the shadows to knife thirteen randomly chosen citizens, one of whom subsequently died of his wounds.
Police on the spot only caught one of the perpetrators, a shoe-shiner and pedlar who also had a record as a police spy under the old Bourbon regime. The attacks caused consternation in Palermo. Only the twelve men who were believed to have actually carried out the attacks were in the dock. The judge handed down death sentences to three ringleaders; the other nine got hard labour.
Yet the court showed a curious lack of interest in discovering who had funded the conspiracy and what its aims were. Opposition newspapers were scornful: Sporadic stabbings that bore similarities to the events of 1 October continued. Whoever had set the plot in motion had clearly not yet achieved his aim. The case lost momentum, the stabbings ceased, and the investigators left Sicily. What is certain is that the conspiracy came from within the institutions.
Either it was dreamed up by interests in Palermo as a way of convincing the national government to put more power in their hands; or the national government was using terror tactics to try to create panic, accuse the opposition of the crimes, and generate the climate for a clampdown.
The Genesis of the Mafia 63 The year after the first stabbings, another episode cast further suspicion over the authorities. The political climate at the time—late in —was fiery even by the standards of post-unification Sicily because a brutal campaign was being conducted to round up the estimated 26, deserters and draft dodgers at large in the island.
In late October an opposition journalist went to follow up a story about a young man who was being held against his will in the military hospital in Palermo.
The journalist found workman Antonio Cappello bedridden, with more than small circular burns on his body. The truth was that Cappello had entered the hospital a well man. Three military doctors from northern Italy had starved, beaten, and tortured him by placing red-hot metal buttons on his back.
Their aim was to get him to confess that he was a deserter. In the end, Cappello managed to convince the doctors that he had been a deaf- mute since birth and was not faking the condition to avoid conscription. Soon after he was released on 1 January , photos of his tortured body were circulating in the streets of Palermo with a caption written by the journalist, accusing the government of being barbarians.
Within three weeks, on the prompting of the Minister of War, the prison doctor was awarded the Cross of Saints Maurice and Lazarus by the King. At the end of March it was announced that the torturers would face no charges.
For a decade and a half after the unification of Italy, the authorities repeatedly lurched towards a blindly repressive response to the unruly island, only to stagger back towards decent principles that they were unable to uphold, or to sink into complicity with shady local enforcers. This toing and froing helped them pull off an extraordinary feat of political image-making: To a government so starved of credibility, the notion that there might be a devilish secret conspiracy against it was manna.
On 25 April , two years after the torture of Antonio Cappello, the recently appointed prefect of Palermo, the Marquis Filippo Antonio Gualterio, sent an alarming secret report to his boss, the Minister of the Interior. The government, he explained, could legitimately send in the army to deal with the crime emergency, and in doing so land a fatal blow against the opposition—or so it hoped.
The details of this military campaign the third in a few short years are not important here; suffice it to say that it failed. Gualterio was a conspiracy theorist, but he was not a fantasist. He did not conjure up the mafia out of nothing with the sole purpose of justifying repression. Organized crime was an integral part of politics on the island. As the revolt of subsequently proved, some of the most important mafiosi, like Antonino Giammona, were now partisans of order and no longer revolutionaries.
By giving the mafia a name in these circumstances, Gualterio made a crucial contribution to its image. For since then the mafia and its politicians have frequently claimed that Sicily has been victimized and misrepresented. One reason that these protests have won support over the past years is that they have sometimes been true.
Officials were constantly tempted to pin the label of mafioso on anyone who disagreed with them. With the indecision proper to a gentleman scholar— one imagines him as a portly man in his late sixties, dressed in a crumpled suit—he refuses to settle on one meaning for the word.
Despite the respect that he evidently has for his partner in discussion, he cannot disguise that all the scholarly debate just makes him edgy. These men extended their method to family members and business contacts. When they spent time in jail, they would also extend it to their fellow inmates.
This sect became the mafia when the new Italian state made ham-fisted attempts to repress it. Thus by the mids at the very latest, and in the Palermo area at the very least, the most important components of the mafia method were firmly in place. The mafia had the protection rackets and the powerful political friends, and it also had its cellular structure, its name, its rituals, and an untrustworthy state as a competitor.
The great imponderable is whether, at this moment in history, there was one mafia or many. The problem is how to interpret the historical documents.
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