Thursday, February 2, 2017


by Jeff Canarsie

American's are fascinated by the Mafia, or La Cosa Nostra. There has always been a nostalgia about the mob that the average person finds intriguing.  The problem is, real Italians, those being from Italy see another side of the Mafia that American's don't see. In fact, prospectively, Italians loathe the Mafia in Italy.

Mob Locations
So many believe that the Mafia is the same throughout Europe and the United States and Canada, but it truly isn't the same group.  Too many people believe that shows like "The Sopranos," and films like "The Godfather," and "Goodfellas," is truly the way the Mafia is in all countries.  The fact is, those films are all very Americanized and shot and written in a way to propell the viewer to be lulled into a lifestyle that is incredibly dangerous.  Granted, in America the Mafia operates itself very much in the form of film, but the true Mafia, in Italy, it much more dangerous and ruthless.

For example, take the idea that the Mafia never hurts one's family.  It may be tradition here, but over in Italy that's exactly what they will do.  They will kill women, children, wives, brothers, sisters, cousins, and grandparents.  However they can control the narrative they will.

Another reference would be "ZIPS," which is often an American word used to describe an Italian right off the boat. Originally used a slang for a ZIP GUN, which is a Sicilian gun made from home with one shot. Up close and personal as it gets.  These "ZIPS" come over to America and are completely ruthless. They do the things American mobsters won't.  Car bombs? Bring in a zip. Need a wife whacked? Bring in a zip.  There reputations are such that many of the five families have used zips in the past because they will 1.) Do what is necessary and without hesitation, and 2) They are untraceable(fly in and murder, ad fly out).

d be: Stidda(Sicily), Sacra Carona Unita(Apulia/Pugila), Banda Della Magliana(Rome), Basilischi (Basilicitan), Mafia Capitale(Lazio/Rome) and Mala Del Brenta(Veneto).

Of these groups, The Sicilian Mafia(La Cosa Nostra) is the biggest and most powerful, however N'drangheta is the most ruthless.
Falcone killed while traveling.

The numbers in comparison to America are truly eye opening.  Membership levels in Italy are over 250,000 associates and 25,000 made men.  Also, each operation based out of Italy also has operations here in the United States(mainly out of Boston and New York)

What makes the Italian mafia so much stronger than the American mafia is that not only do they control politics in Italy and in other countries, but it's also the power and violence they do wield.  You don't have to go to far back to see the Italian mafia's power.  They assassinated Giovanni Falcone, a beloved Italian judge who took a tough stance with the Mafia and tried to eradicate them only to be blown up on the A29 motor freeway in a massive explosion. What makes the Falcone murder perhaps ore ruthless is that the mafia was upset that not only was he targeting them, but he was targeting there money, which was the only way he could have them arrested considering there wasn't any financial help to investigate the mafia properly.  Rudy Giuliani took one out of Falcone's book when going after the commission back in the 1980's.  It was easier to follow the money trail and take that, forcing the mob to expose themselves, then it was to use FBI surveillance.  Both worked well, but when RICO laws took effect it really enabled the Government to grab the mob by the balls. If you take what they earn, you cripple them.  RICO LAWS allow for forfeiture of all assets if assumed they were earned by criminal enterprises. Just being accused, the Government could take what they wanted and not return it.  The simple point is, like in the Godfather where Virgil Solozzo says he needs "the politicans in Don Corleone's pockets," the Italian mafia not only owned many of them,  but would kill without second thought when it came to high government officials if they didn't get what they wanted, or there was too much attention brought to them. 

The American mafia would never dream of doing that.  The American mafia doesn't kill cops, lawyers, family members of members,media  or politicians.  They ONLY kill each other.  In the Godfather when Michael Corleone pops Solozzo and the police chief, it's about as fake as it gets.  True, in history Cops have been killed but they were dirty cops, and that's how the Godfather wraps that package for you.  We cheer for Michael because revenge is at our core, eye for an eye.  But realistically the American mafia would never, go there.  It would bring too much heat, too many problems.  The American mafia may have carryover rules and standards from the Sicilian mafia, but many of those same ideals are completely different in comparison. 


All Mafia enterprises utilize the same means of income. Drugs, prostitution, extortion, loan sharking, murder for hire, etc etc.  Italy is no different in that sense, but they have really cornered that market in Italy and all over Europe.  Whereas the silent edict in America was "deal drugs and die," the Italian mafia doesn't go by that rule.  Even really calling it a rule is funny, especially when you consider every single family in America sells drugs.  All five families sell drugs, don't let the movies trick you into believing otherwise.  The rule should be restated "Get caught selling drugs and die."  The Godfather perhaps distorts this myth better, and for some reason the American mafia has taken on that ideal, but only at face value.  In the Godfather Don Vito Corelone refuses to get involved in narcotics trafficking because it's was "a dirty backstabbing business," as well as "if I were caught selling drugs those politicians you speak of would no longer be my friends."  On screen it makes sense. Why give up the power you do have, for the sake of money.  However, the truth is the money is everything to the mob. To sit here and pretend they have some moral compunction about drugs is ridiculous.   The Italian mafia makes most of there profits from drugs.  They don't have a compunction about making millions from "babania."


One of the biggest differences between the Italian mob and American mob is the structure. In America the mob is structured into 5 families. The Gambino's, Lucchese, Colombo, Bonanno, and Genovese's.   Chicago has the "outfit", which operates in the midwest(including Kansas City).  The Commission operates how each family is run, and handles business between families.

Lucky Luciano's idea was that everyone involved in crime, albeit Irish, Polish, Russian, Jewish, Italian, Black would work together under one umbrella, and it was better for each criminal to be able to make money rather than fight each other over turf and enterprises.  This is why the commission was formed and why there are five families. Five representatives, five opinions, five sets of eyes.  It would essentially end what we saw in the 1920's and 1930's with tommy gun parades every other week.

Lucky Luciano believed squabbles no matter how big or small could be handled professionally in so that there would be less violence and more enrichment financially.  While the idea worked, we still have seen rival families go to the streets for results.  Any great idea is bound to have flaws, and the American mafia certainly has had them.

The Italian mafia on the other hand, does not agree to disagree.  They shoot first and ask questions later. They fight which each other, for complete control of Italy. The best representation of this would be what's going on in Montreal as we speak.  It's a great example of Italy.  The reason why is because all the organized crime in Montreal is directly from Italy.  The Rizzuto's(Sicilian) had run all of Canada for decades.  What we have seen over the last 20 years is a surge in Italian representatives. While the power base for the Rizzuto's was in Montreal, the Toronto area was controlled by a smaller N'drangheta faction. Once the Rizzuto's began to have legal troubles, the other Italian's came out of he shadows and unleashed a ton of violence. Violence you won't see here in the United States.  The Camorra, N'drangheta, have really grabbed a strangle hold on what the Rizzuto's used to control. Car bombs, arson jobs, and the direct murder of high ranking mobsters is almost daily news at this point. They waited until the Rizzuto's were weakened and launched a war, which they are now winning.  They haven't hesitated to kill family members, fathers and sons, for control of organized crime. So if you are looking for something similar to how it's done in Italy, look north for examples.

While there are major differences between Italy and the United States, it's the same organized group, just with different reactions and different rules.  Same gun, just different bullets.  Italy has made inroads to pushing the mafia out of Italy, but just like in America, you can't ever eradicate something that powerful.  You may board up the windows and turn off the power, but they will only move across the street, but this time being smarter than the last.  The mafia will ALWAYS exist, in some form or another.  What remains to be seen is whether the power they once had will return to them. Doubtful, but everything evolves, everything.

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