In doing some research I found this. Pretty cool.
Giuseppe Musolino. hui331.
Gone, but not forgotten. hui331.
1. The Mafia’s organs began in Sicily and it offered protection to people, business and even the law when the no one else could. Not even the state. As capitalism expanded and certain members of society’s trust, so did the Mafia. They offered services such as protection to mostly any person or business that was struggling with the economy. There was a “boss of all bosses” who “established lines of demarcation and rules of conduct.” Without rules no organization can function properly and to its fullest capacity. The Mafia was based around family and loyalty, usually the members were blood related and it was passed from one generation to another. Regardless of the fact that women were part of the family in relation or blood, they were usually not part of the Mafia itself.
2. Sicily slowly was becoming wealthier and made groups such as unions and brotherhoods. In the 1860’s Sicily tried its power to gain independence. Unfortunately gaining independence is not an easy task. “Often riots were suppressed by the government with bloodsheds, and round-ups were used to recruit men to send to war.” In 1865 the Mafia’s name first appeared along with its power and connections. In 1866 a few hundred marched to Palermo, accompanied with “a squad from Monreale.” There in Palermo a battle broke out, but within a week after the government was able to restore order. Miceli gave people protection for their fields and irrigation channels when needed. He also burned police records in 1886 when opportunity came his way. Unfortunately Turi Miceli who was one of members from the Monreale crew lost his life during the riot. Rudini was the mayor during the time of the revolt in Palermo. He is known for his “testimony in front of the parliamentary commission that investigated the events on 1866.” This boosted his political career greatly, as he became prime minister in 1891.
3. The Camorra in comparison to the Mafia is different, and in my personal opinion it is extremely different. I feel that the Camorra were more cold blooded then the Mafia. Yes, there are both criminal organizations, that kept their mouth shut about things but they went about their business differently. The Camorra originated in the jails, were the Mafia did not. The Mafia is much more family run then the Camorra. Both expect a certain amount of respect and they have their own codes of conduct, but just like religions have codes, they still differ in many ways. Unlike the Camorra, the Mafia knows everyone who works for them and when a figure needs pointing they usually know who to point it at or at least have the same story that makes it appear so. The Mafia holds respect and loyalty extremely highly, when the mafia for example comes to dinner, you need to kiss the ring of the main boss of that family. They both just have different values, codes and conduct themselves in different ways.
4. In 1925 Mussolini began his attack to take down the Mafia. In Palermo he arrested 450 Mafiosi, this was known as the “Iron Prefect’s first assault.” In 1927 he publicized the Mori Operation. It was said that the “reason the Mafia was so powerful in Sicily was because the previous governments let it happen.” Thousands that were assumed to be Mafia were arrested in the Sicilian villages. Mussolini tried to shut down the entire operation of the Mafia but without Mori’s assistants it was virtually impossible. The Mafia was too powerful to take down alone. So when Mori returned to Rome, Mussolini’s plan ended. To prove that Mussolini’s operation was a failure, in 2007 “a group of scholars unearthed a report long forgotten in the Palermo Sate Archive.” It was proven through their activation that the Mori Operation was an “elaborate lie” conjured up by the fascist regime.
5. World War two for Sicily was a hard time, from trying to unify the country, to its fight for independence and the abolishment of the mafia. The dictator at that time was Mussolini, who allied himself with Hitler of Germany. Mussolini was of the Fascist Party and he forced his political views on everyone, weather they agreed or did not. During his time he wanted to abolish the Mafia and he believed did. He made many arrests but was far away from the complete abolishment of the Mafia.
6. Salvatore Giuliano “rose to prominence post World War 2 Sicily.” He was killed in 1950 and during the movie it calls flashback to before his death to how it all transpired. Salvatore became the head, alongside with the help of his cousin. He became popular amongst the Sicilian lower class because of what he stood for, especially politically. Unfortunately he later was seen as more of a rebel and the Mafia saw him as threat to their wealth. Like with every main figure that turns into something that people did not think they were, that person loses their followers, and this applied to Salvatore Giuliano. It is to be learned from this man that if a person rises to power and popularity, never let it get to your head and if you are titled part of Sicilian Mafia you live with accordance to the title.
TO THE NAME
Mussolini, the Iron Perfect and the Bandit. hui331.7.pdf.
Salvatore Giuliano. (1962). (Movie).
The Mafia. hui331.6.pdf.
#2 Toni DeMaio
1. The mafia originated in Northwestern Sicily, outside the city of Palermo. Due to constant invasions from other countries, and other Sicilian groups the people of this region formed groups to protect themselves from hostile occupants. As time went on these groups that were both known as clans and families started carrying out secret actions in response to their own justice system (Lecture 6). In the 19th century armies known as “Mafie” used the dangerous era of the region as a way to extort protection money from landowners, which is how the birth of the Mafia came about (History). The idea of family/clan was based on the Mafia’s belief in blood loyalty being passed down from generation to generation, which was the main structure of the members in the Mafia (Lecture 6). The origin of the word Mafia is believed to come from a Sicilian-Arab word meaning “acting as a protector against the arrogance of the powerful,” (History).
2. Sicily in the 1860’s was disorganized, and had many different politicians fighting for its independence from the new Italy. During the time many riots occurred involving bloodshed (Lecture 6). In September 1866 300 men marched into the city of Palermo from “Conca d’Oro”, alongside a squad from Monreale (Slide 13). The battle took a week to suppress, but during the battle police records were burned, along with the ransacking of official building, and robberies of civilians in their homes (Slide 14). 53-year old Mafioso Turi Miceli was among the planners of the revolt, and had the desire to clear his police record by burning it. Profiting from giving citrus farmers protection, he always fought against the Bourbons at every chance he could. He ended up dying during the revolt (Lecture 6).
Another key figure in the revolt was Marquis of Rudini, who was mayor of Palermo at the time of the revolt. His importance was due to his two testimonies that he gave, one being after the revolt, and another being ten years later. During his testimonies he discussed the Mafia groups, and gave insight to the kinds of Mafia involved in Sicily. He referred to some as being harmless, and others as being the jail type, and also stated that he didn’t think the different Mafia groups had relations to one another (Dickie 97-99).
3. There are many differences between two of the organized crime groups in Italy, the Camorra and the Mafia. Before looking into the differences, I believe that it is important for paying attention to the two origins in understanding the rest of the comparisons. The Camorra on the one hand originated in a jail in Naples, and began as a secret honorable society in the jails, which they ran. The Mafia on the other hand originated outside of jail in the northwestern region of Sicily, and came about as a group that was used to protect people for money from the chaotic society around them. With that being said one could say right off the bat that the Mafia capitalized on a chaotic time in Sicilian history by providing protection, while the Camorra illegally ran almost all aspects of Naples society with no care for the people of Naples. Next comparisons should come from how the two organizations were run, while both had their own rituals that were shared throughout, it seems like most of the Camorra had relations with each other in some way or another, while with the Mafia there were different groups in different regions that had no relation to each other (Dickie 98-99). Along with that I feel like the Mafia operated in a less dirty way then the Camorra who used anything possible, for example prostitution, as a way to make money.
4. Starting in 1925 Mussolini with the help of Cesare Mori, a northerner Prefect started their campaign against the Mafia (Lecture 7). The first campaign of Mori’s, otherwise known as the “iron prefect,” occurred in the town of Gangi in which children and women were held hostage, along with stealing, and eventually led to the arrest of 450 mafia members (Slide 3). Mussolini’s speech in 1927 discussed the “Mori Operation,” and the mafia , which he himself believed to be a threat to the fascist government (History). Until 1929 when Mussolini finally stopped his campaign against the Mafia, many Mafioso were arrested from plenty of Sicilian towns, along with murders and cattle rustling (Slide 5). These arrests led to trials that occurred from 1927-1932, leaving the future of the Mafia seeming bad, and was supported by Mori’s comments in his book that talked about how the Mafia was only around in spirit anymore (Dickie 298). In 1932 as a ten year celebration by Mussolini, he releases many Mafia from prison, which makes it seem like he had complete control over the Mafia, but according to reports from 2007 in the Palermo archives, Mussolini’s reign over the Mafia wasn’t as successful as Mussolini made it seem. According to the report the Mafia during this period was alive and strong in Italy running many different parts of the culture (Lecture 7). One example were the Marasa Brothers who ran all of Sicily during the time period (Dickie 342).
5. Sicily during World War II didn’t hold too much of a threat to the allied forces, but on September 8th 1943 surrendered to the Allied Forces (Slide 10). During the war the Sicilian mafia on many different occasions aided the ally troops. One example was mafia member Nick Gentile who helped out the allied troops and formed a temporary administration with them. Through this administration the troops were taught by the Mafia how to infiltrate the Italian governments system (Dickie 352). Along with the mafia helping out the troops, different Mafioso was appointed political positions, like Count Tasca, who was appointed mayor of Palermo by American officials (Lecture 7). According to the OSS report the Mafia was also viewed as being very powerful by the allied forces, and was even part of an idea that they could be the force to regulate crime and the black market (Dickie 354). The war in a way also helped out the Mafia, because they controlled many of the post world war II construction companies that were used to help rebuild Sicily (History).
6. During World War II Salvatore Giuliano started making his money through the black market and its food sales to allied troops. He was known as a Sicilian bandit who took advantage of the disorder in Sicily once the Allied Forces started occupying the area. He gained his name of being a bandit due to his attacks and murders of police, which usually occurred whenever they tried to arrest him (Lecture 7). Giuliano was also viewed as a Robin Hood figure due to his working with the peasants, and only robbing and stealing from the rich (Slide 13). In April of 1945 he joined the M.I.S. movement fight for independence of Sicily, and started an armed campaign under his new position of colonel (Slide 14). During this campaign he recruited new members including Gaspare Pisciotta who would become close to him. Later on Giuliano’s band will be held responsible for what is called the Portella Della Ginestra Massacre, in which 11 people were killed including a woman and three children (Slide 17). On June 19th Pisciotta met with colonel Luca where they planned the murder of Giuliano (Slide 18). As seen in the movie we watched, the murder itself was set up. The movie also showed the trial of Pisciotta and other members of Giuliano’s band, for the massacre that they were blamed for. It also showed the whole idea of secrecy and knowing too much, which was why Pisciotta was poisoned in prison (movie).
Costa, Guiseppe. “Lecture 6 & 7.” Class. United States, Stony Brook.
Dickie, John. Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia. London: Coronet, 2007. Print.
"Origins of the Mafia." History Channel. A & E Television Network, n.d. Web.
1. Many scholars believe that the modern day mafia’s inception occurred during the downfall of the feudal system in Sicily; land baron no longer handed down land to their first born, instead they began to sell of their property. During the 1830’s there was scattered documentation of “sects or union” that formed “little governments within governments ”. After the annexation of Sicily by Italy in 1860, much of the public and church land was redistributed to private citizens, however this increase in landownership was not followed by an “adequate enforcement mechanism” . Often times, many towns didn’t even have a standing police force, which left the criminal with free reign, and because of the numerous instances of banditry many looked towards private protection. Contemporary reports show that many landowners may have paid the mafia for protection, the irony being that the mafia was being hired to protect the land and its owners from attack by other mafia members. The fact that the landowners went to the mafia for protection, gave the mafia power and a sense of legitimacy that they didn’t have before, which prompted them to pursue their own independent ventures .
2. Sicily in the 1860s faced a host of political problems, the ruling government at the time, known as the Right, was having much difficulty imposing their control. A large portion of the Sicily’s political faction favored autonomy from Italy, but the Right was reluctant to do so; in order to maintain its power, the Right resorted to military rule . In September of 1866 a group of 300 people marched from the “Conca d’oro” and Monreale into Palermo; at the time of the revolt, all of the military was sent to the north-east frontier . The main assault was meant for prison, Ucciardone, which housed thousands of prisoners that would’ve joined with the revolt; this attack was led by Turi Miceli, a 53 Mafioso, who died of his injuries after the Italian army bombed the city .
Turi Miceli was a well-known Mafioso, but there exists no prison record of him. It is interesting to recount how Miceli came to power; the area Miceli lived in, Monreale, was home to many citrus plantations, which was the livelihood of Sicily. It was also very expensive to create a citrus plantation, and the wait for returns on a profit was long and arduous. High walls were needed to protect from the cold, irrigation channels had to be built, roads were needed, storage facilities had to be built, and all these were areas that the mafia could use to extort money from plantation owners for protection, mainly from the mafia itself . Miceli also took the opportunity presented to him during several of the smaller revolts that had occurred in the previous years, after the 1848 revolt he was inducted into the Bourdon Police, in 1860 he was on the opposing side and fought against the Bourbons, and in 1866 he revolted against the Right, in what would be his last revolution .
Antonio Starabba, Marquis of Rudini was considered a hero to the Right government in the 1866 revolt. He gathered men to defend the town hall from rebels, and when that failed held position in the surroundings of the Royal Palace. For his bravery and outstanding work during the revolt, he was given the Position as Prefect of Palermo, and from there his political career sky rocketed, becoming prefect of Naples in 1868 then minister of the interior in the Menabrea cabinet in 1869 and in 1886 leader of the Right .
3. The Mafia and the Camorra are two of the largest crime organizations that function with-in and sometimes outside of Italy. While their origins may be similar, there are many differences that cab be observed. The camorra grew out of the prison system of Naples; many of its members belonged to the slums of Naples, or were from the prison. While in Sicily, many criminal organizations may have had their origins from the prison, the Mafia as a whole was more of a middle class crime organization. Because Sicily’s economy was based on land ownership and exportation of goods, the Mafia was able to become land owing, “respectable” citizens. The camorra is organized more as network of clans, who stick to their own respective areas, and occasionally try to encroach on one another’s borders. The mafia on the other hand, has a pyramidal structure, with a “capo do capo” boss of all bosses at the head, and several underlings below him. One of the major differences with the camorra and the mafia is their treatment of women. Within the camorra, women can hold positions and make a name for themselves; many of them may start out as prostitutes and go onto becomes pimps or bosses. However in the mafia, they do not believe in “disrespecting” the women, therefore women become more of political pawns, used to cement blood ties and strengthen unions. This brings us to another difference between the two organizations, whereas the camorra inducts members from everyday thieves and murders, the mafia is a family business; one is born into the mafia world because of family, Leonardo Messina stated, “Mine is a family that belongs by tradition to cosa nostra, and I belong to the seventh generation…I did not become a Mafioso because I was a thief or because I was capable of killing, but because family traditions…”
4. On May 26 1927, Mussolini gave his Ascension Day speech, in which he boldly states that it is time to tackle Italy’s organized crime problem, the crown jewel of the speech being the Mori Operation, led by Cesare Mori. The Mori Operation led to the arrests I thousands of Mafiosi, dropping the murder rate from 675 in 1923 to 277 in 1926. By 1928, there were an estimated 11,000 arrests made. And then in 1929, the Iron Prefect, as Mori was called, was recalled back to Rome when Mussolini declared the Operation a success . In his memoir, The Last Struggle with the Mafia, Mori describes the Mafia as nothing more than a state of mind, where Sicilians were “easily impressed by haughty figures”, he described the mafia as “a peculiar way of looking at things and of acting, through mental and spiritual affinities, bring together in definite unhealthy attitudes men of particular temperament, isolating them from their surroundings into a kind of caste…” In 1932, having believed the mafia to be defeated, and the men rehabilitated, hundreds of Mafiosi were released from prison.
In 2007, a report was uncovered in the Palermo State Archive. The report dates from to 1938, and shows that the Mori Operation was probably one of the most elaborate lies in organized crime history. The report shows that the mafia had their own agenda; they simply appeared as if they had been defeated during the Mori Operation. After five years of work, the Royal General Inspectorate for Public Security for Sicily, had completed their report and submitted their findings about the mafia; “The mafia is not just a state of mind or mental habit. It actually spreads this state of mind, this mental habit, from within what is a genuine organization. It is divided into so-called ‘Families’, which are sub-divided into ‘Tens’, and it has ‘bosses’ or ‘representatives’ who are formally elected. The members, or ‘brothers’, have to go through an oath to prove their unquestioning fidelity and secretiveness.”
5. In August of 1943 the Allied troops landed in Sicily, when the Allied troops landed Nick Gentile, offered his services to the troops as a translator and guide and created a temporary “administration” with them . Nick was born in Sicily and immigrated to Philadelphia, where he was inducted into the Honored Society. He spent much of his career going back and forth as was needed to avoid arrest and for the mafia. In 1937, he returns to Sicily for good after jumping bail. Nick Gentile was like many other Mafioso during the Allied invasion that made friends with the troops and military administrators. The AMGOT, (American Military Government of Occupied Territories), were looking for authoritative figures that weren’t tainted by Mussolini’s rule, and the Mafioso men were great at presenting themselves that way . Soon, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) had the idea that the only way to maintain order was to begin co-managing crime with the Mafia, in which the two entities exchanged favors; the OSS receives information, while the mafia received “tokens of trust” .
6. Salvatore Giulano was born on November 16 1922 in Montelepre to a poor peasant family. When the Allies invaded Sicily, Giuliano was involved in the olive trade, but this met an end because the immediate effect of the Allied invasion was the breakdown of the government and legal food distribution. In many areas, especially the city, up 70% of the food would be provided through the black market, of which Giulano would become a participant. On September 1943 Giulano shoots and kills a Carabinieri officer to avoid being caught transporting black market goods, this then prompted an arrest attempt on Christmas Eve 1943.
On the run from the law, Guiliano soon turns to banditry, his main targets being the wealthy, and thanks to his Robin Hood-esque nature, and the code of Omerta, Sicilian peasants were unwilling to turn him in .
Giulano soon turns his attention to politics, and begins supporting the Movement for the Independence of Sicily (MIP). In the April 1947 election, MIP won only 9% of the votes, and the winner was the more popular Communist-Socialist party. The conservative movement on the island called upon Giulano for help; and while annual May Day celebration was occurring gunfire erupted, killing 11 people. Gaspare Pisciotta and eleven other of Giulano’s group were arrested for the massacre. Pisciotta decides to work with the police, and names the main conspirators, and once again the code of omerta broke down. Pisciotta meets with Colonel Luca on June 19 and agrees to kill Giulano, and while Giulano slept, Pisciotta shot him twice killing him immediately .
What we can learn from the life is Giulano is just how integrated the Mafia becomes in everyday Sicilian life. We also see that without popular support the Mafia cannot survive. If it weren’t for the people protecting him, Giulano would have been caught much earlier, and probably would have avoided death. And as often times, the code of omerta breaks down and one Mafioso will speak to the police.
Bandiera, O. (2001, April 17). Private States and the Enforcement of Property Rights. The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization., 218-244.
Costa, G. (2013). HUI.7.pdf.
Dickie, J. (2011). Mafia Brotherhoods. Falkirk, Stirlingshire: Paimpsest Book Production Ltd.
Lupo, S. (2009). History of the Mafia. Columbia University Press.
Sarti, R. (2009). Italy: A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. Infobase Publishing.
The Mafia originated for economical and cultural reasons in the 1800’s in the northwest of Sicily. The Mafia was also known as “Cosa Nostra” or “our thing.” Similarly to the Camorra, it offered protection in the areas the state could not control. The Mafia helped protect stores and business in times of struggle. According to Gambetta, the mafia was not centralized, but it was made of competing groups. During this time, Tommaso Buscetta was a famous boss of the Mafia. Women were usually excluded from the Mafia because they could not be trusted.
Originally, men trusted by landowners paid poor peasants to help protect the landowners and their citrus plants. Eventually, these men formed brotherhoods and were able to purchase the land. These men were known as “Gabelloti.” In 1861, after Sicily became a province of Italy, crime broke out because the Italian government hadn’t yet established itself. In 1866, a group of 300 men from the “conca d’oro” came into Palermo. By 1871, officials had asked the Sicilian Mafia for help.
During the riot of 1866, Turi Miceli, a well-known Mafioso, lost his life. This man was a part of the group that came from Monreale. He was a wealthy middle-class man who was involved in the trades of fruits and vegetables. After the victory against the Bourbons, he was awarded the title of Colonel. When the Bourbons regained their power in Palermo, Miceli switched sides again, and was pardoned from his high rank. In 1860, Miceli had again traded sides and followed Garibaldi in fight against the Bourbons. In 1866, Miceli wanted to clear his slate and burned police records.
Marquis Rudini was the young mayor of Palermo. He was also a very rich landowner. He testified in front of the commission, which investigated these events from 1866. In 1891 he became the prime minister of the government in Italy. Ten yeas later, he testified again, but focused his attention on the good Mafia and the bad Mafia, also known as the “Benign Maffia” and the “Malign Maffia.” According to Rudini, the bad Mafia had two different groups, the “Prison Maffia” and the “High Maffia,” but Rudini saw no connection amongst the two. However, he believed the bad Mafia was created by the good one.
Both the Mafia and the Camorra are groups of which participate in organized crime. They are also both secret societies. The Camorra originated in the campagnia regions in Naples. The Camorra dates back to the 18th century and called itself an “Honourd Society.”
The Mafia, or “Cosa Nostra,” began in Sicily in the mid 19th century. Each group is a “clan” or “a family.” The Camorra also began by offering protection, and was later hired by the police to help protect. Later, the Camorra became heavily involved with trafficking drugs and counterfeit merchandise.
Both the Mafia and the Camorra were involved in violent activities and are held accountable for many murders. They are also both around today, however, they are still very secretive.
4. Benito Mussolini was the leader of the Italian Fascist party. After fighting in the war and being discharged for injuries, Mussolini created a paramilitary unit, which called themselves the “blackshirts.” These “blackshirts” continued to try and influence the fascist movement. According to Dickie, in 1925, “Mussolini bestowed full powers to attack the mafia across the whole island on an ambitious northern policemen called Cesare Mori. (Pg.294)” Cesare Mori was a nobody until now, he soon became known as the “Iron Perfect”. He began an anti-mafia campaign, which was known as the “Mori Operation.” Mori began his assault in Gangi, an eastern province in Palermo. The criminals were forced out of their hidings, and their women and children were taken as hostages. In addition, the people’s goods were sold for close to nothing, and their cattle were slaughtered. There were 450 arrests. The operation continued in the Conca d’ora, Bagheria, Monreale, Partinico, and Corleone. In Mussolini’s eyes, the Fascist had set order on Italy. Thousands of men whom were thought to be a part of the Mafia were arrested, and by 1928, there had been as many at 11,000 arrests. In 1927, one of the largest Mafia trials began. At this time, Mussolini tells the public about the Mori Operation. This trial had 450 defendants. In 1929, Cesare Mori was called back to Rome. This ends the operation. In 1932, Cesare Mori published a Memoir, which told his readers that Italian psychology was the cause of the Mafia problems in Italy. This same year, many of the men captured, who were thought to be Mafiosi, were released.
In 2007, some scholars discovered a long lost report in the Palermo State Archive. It turns out that the “Mori Operation” was a huge lie. The report was written in 1938, but it goes back to 1933. The Carabinieri had picked up where Mori and his operation had left off.
On July 10th, the Italian territory was invaded for the first time. Seven Allied divisions began an assault against Sicily. On July 25th, the Grand Council voted to bring the Fascist rule to an end; Benito Mussolini was arrested. On August 17th, Sicily’s evacuation was completed. Shortly after, on September 8th, General Dwight D. Eisenhower had announced Italy’s surrender. The Germans were no longer allies, but now they were Invaders. As the German’s advanced, they targeted the Italian Jew’s, and ordered a racial extermination. The War office had made “Zone Handbooks” which told the world about the organized crime and also revealed how taken back the Allied were by the chaos.
Nicola Gentile was initiated into the Honoured Society in 1906 in Philadelphia. He was arrested in New Orleans in 1937 on narcotics charges. Gentile fled to Italy. He was soon after back in Agrigento, where he offered services as a translator to a commanding officer. He and the officer formed “an administration, a government.”
Lord Rennel appointed Lucio Tasca Bordonaro, an aristocrat, to Mayor of Palermo in 1943. Lord Rennel was unaware of Tasca’s record with the Mafia.
Salvatore Giuliano was born in 1922, he was also known as “Turridu.” He was a Sicilian bandit who became powerful after the invasion in Sicily in 1943. He shot and killed a policeman, who had attempted to arrest him for food smuggling. During this time, a large percent of the food provided for Sicily came from the black-market. During the invasion of ’43, it is said that Giuliano was trading olive oil in the black-market. Salvatore Giuliano had been nicknames the “Robin Hood” of his time. During his life, Giuliano led approximately 600 men, who robbed rich people and gave to the poor.
Salvatore Giuliano’s story is retold in a film made in 1962, which was directed by Francesco Rossi. In the film, the audience is shown Giuliano’s dead body laying flat in a courtyard. There are guns around him, and neighbors appear to be gathering at the site. Soon after, the police arrive and begin investigating the crime scene. At the end, the audience is shown how Giuliano’s body was put in the courtyard and staged. He was actually shot and killed in his bed. In the end of the movie, another man in killed and lies dead in the same position that Giuliano was placed. This tells the audience that the same organization that killed Giuliano had also murdered this man.
Dickie, John. Blood Brotherhoods: The Rise of the Italian Mafias. London: Sceptre
Student ID #4
With many foreign invaders, small groups of sicilians decided to band together in order to protect themselves. This was the birth of Mafia and it began just outside of Palermo. Palermo’s countryside was known as the richest area for growing citrus crops such as lemons and was referred to as “Conca d’Oro” (Golden Shell). The mafiosi extorted money under the guise of protection from bandits who might destroy the landowners crops and/or profits. However, at times, the bandits worked with the mafiosi. The bandits would destroy citrus crops which would instill fear in the landowner. They felt they had no choice but to pay the mafia for protection. Taking advantage of the “chaotic conditions in Sicily,” “small private armies known as ‘mafie,’ extorted protection money from landowners” (history.com). This increased Mafia’s wealth and power. Blood loyalties and Kinship are of the utmost important in the Mafia organization. Women in the blood line are not revered the same way as men. Women are seen as unable to provide the same secrecy and are not able to put the organization ahead of their own family. Decision making and overall control is done inside the cupola where the senior mafiosi reside. The Mafia, also called “Cosa Nostra” was deeply embedded in politics. Mafia had the politicians build roads and aqueducts from the countryside to the city. This enabled the citrus growers to bring their products to the markets. Again, by providing the mafia with payments for protection, the growers could travel safely back and forth and Mafia gained more power and control. Mafia started and continued to thrive because the state was not able to provide adequate law and protection for its citizens.
In the 1860’s Sicily saw organized riots by the mafiosa. During the feudal period, 1% of the population owned 90% of the land. This lasted after the unification to some degree. Wealthy landowners hired men know as “Gabelloti” to oversee the peasants who worked on their land. The Gabelloti would often extract a percentage of their wages. Eventually, the Gabelloti were able to purchase land and grew their own citrus crop. This created a battles over land and control of the region. Owning land was extremely valuable because only land owners could vote. The government in trying to control the riots, recruited sicilian men to go to war. These men were put on the front line and this created a civil war.
“In September 1866 a group of 300 people coming from the ‘Conca d’Oro’ marched in the city of Palermo, along side with a squad from monreale” (Costa). The riots were started because the mafiosi wanted to burn all of the police records so there were no records of their individual misdoings. This would enable them to move into politics without a record. In addition, they wanted to take the land away from the rich landowners and spread it out among the many who didn’t have any. The Italian army was brought in to control the riot. They used bombs and grenades against their own civilians. One important figure in all of this was Turi Miceli. He provided protection to citrus plantation owners in many forms from preventing bandits to damage their crops to controlling irrigation routes. Murcelli was Colonel in the Revolutionary Army then he switched sides, only to switch sides once again. During the riots, he was killed.
Another important figure was Marquis of Rudini. He was the mayor at the time of the revolt. He was one of the richest landowners. His testimony on the revolt made his political career advance. He soon became prime minister. During his tenure, he focused his attention on the types of “maffia.” He felt there were two different, he didn’t realize there was a connection between High Maffia and Benign Maffia. The Mafiosa were able to move through society in a very quiet and secretive way. Exactly how they wanted it. This is how they were able to gain control and power without being discovered.
The Mafia and the Camorra were very similar in some ways. A secretive society with codes were entrenched in both. However, their differences can be seen in where they started and why. The camorra started in the jails to help control other prisoners, and worked its way into the mainstream. They were not as politically connected as the Mafia. Mafia as mentioned earlier, started in the countryside outside of Palermo. Mafia as an organization has a hierarchy of command and is formed along blood loyalties. They have a cupola which controls the organization to a large degree whereas the camorra has many clans operating individually and are not based on kinship. During the unification, riots in Naples were controlled and orderly because the camorra were basically in charged. However, the riots in Sicily were chaotic and not controlled by mafia but by the police and army.
With the help of Northern Prefect, Cesare Mori, Mussolini begins his attacks against the Mafia. After WWI, war veterans had no means of work and joined bandit gangs in order to survive. Sicily’s society began to deteriorate even further and the Mori operation began. “The Iron Prefect’s first assault was on the hill top town of Gangi in Palermo Province” (Costa). During this assault women and children were taken hostage and stealing was a big part of the operation. “The assault brought the arrest of 450 Mafiosi” (Costa). They rounded up thousands of suspected Mafiosa from many different villages. They basically assumed everyone was Mafia and arrested them. This continued until Mori was sent back to Rome. It seemed that Mafia had been eliminated but this was not true. In 1932, Mori published a memorial called, “The Last Struggle with the Mafia.” Mori felt the Mafia was only a “mental and spiritual affinity.” He was very mistaken. In 2007, the archives in Palermo indicated that “the operation was a failure” and that “the Mori Operation turns out to be the most elaborate lie of the fascist regime” (Costa).
In 1943, allied forces enter into Sicily. It wasn’t long before Italy surrendered. According to Dickie, “The Second World War was the greatest collective tragedy ever endured by the Italian people” (p 350). “The AMGOT distributes the Sicily Zone Handbook” (Costa). These handbooks revealed what the world came to know about organized crime and measure the chaos it created. One of those were, Nicola (Nick) Gentile. He was “an extortionist, murderer, bootlegger and drug dealer” and he “spent three decades” “shuttling to and fro across the Atlantic as the demand of his crimal business, and the need to avoid his enemies in the police and mafia, dictated” (Dickie, p 352). Nicola offered his services to the American troops. He helped the allied forces as a translator and guide, as did many of the mafiosa. This is important because the mafia embedded themselves deeper into the political forum and helped strengthened their cause.
“The most immediate trouble caused by the Allied invasion was the breakdown of government structures and the legal distribution of food” (Costa). Most of the food was being supplied through the black market. A Carabinieri was killed at a check point by Salvatore Giuliano, a black market bandit. Guiliano was carrying two sacks of black market grain. The shooting prompted mass arrests but Guiliano was not apprehended. He and his group of about twenty other men killed over a hundred Carabinieri and police. This gave him more power and he moved into a larger political forum. He started a “Movement for Independence of Sicily.” His following grew as he recruited more young men to fight for his cause. “Among the recruits was Gaspare Pisciotta” (Costa). Following the Sicilian election of the Popular Bloc, “gunfire erupted, the result was mass terror and many casualties: 11 dead (including a woman and 3 children) and between 2 to 3 dozen wounded” (Costa). Guiliano sided with the peasants but he hated communism. He was very upset by the massacre. As we saw in the movie, Pisciotta and eleven others were “convicted for massacre” (Costa). Princiotta began working with Colonel Luca after he released the names of the conspirators. In order to get rid of Guiliano, he shot and killed him in his bed. After he was killed, Princiotta and his men moved his body to the street to make believe he died in a battle. “Luca concocted a story of an informer, Giuliano’s plan to flee the country by plane from Mazzara del Vallo” (Wiki). The movie showed how the mafia, the citizens, the bandits and the government officials were all entangled. And in the end, Prisciotta was killed in his cell after talking to the assistant prosecutor.
Costa, Giuseppe. http://hui331.tumblr.com/
Dickie, John. Mafia Brotherhoods. London: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd. 2011. Print.
History of Mafia. http://www.history.com/topics/origins-of-the-mafia Web. 21 June 2013.
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvatore_Giuliano Web. 21 June 2013.