the other famiglia

“Inside the World of the ‘Ndrangheta”
“01/04/2012
“By Andreas Ulrich

“Encounters with the Calabrian Mafia

“The shadowy Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta, has become one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the Western world through its dominance of the European cocaine trade. For the first time, local syndicate bosses described their business model to SPIEGEL. It’s a mixture of entrepreneurial talent, skillful management and deadly ruthlessness….

“‘My German is better than my Italian,’ admits Carlo, who has been living in Germany for 30 years. He is wearing a black shirt, black trousers and black loafers — elegant Italian products, all made of high-quality materials. He was baptized at 18, he says.

“He is referring to the secret ritual in which he was accepted into the ‘onorata società,’ or ‘honored society,’ as the ‘Ndrangheta calls itself. His uncle brought him into the organization. This is often the case in such organizations, where cohesion is based on kinship and there are few traitors as a result….

“In its early days, the organization was little more than a loose collection of rural clans. Their activities centered around controlling their villages, protection money, hold-ups and public contracts….

“The experts with Germany’s BKA have studied the current structure of the ‘Ndrangheta. According to the BKA report, the syndicate is “no longer structured horizontally in individual family clans, but, like the Cosa Nostra, in the form of a pyramid.” In the province of Reggio Calabria, for example, the ‘Ndrangheta has divided itself into three so-called mandamenti. A ‘provincial commission,’ which rules over the entire organization, elects a ‘capo crimine,’ or chairman, each year….

“Although the ‘Ndrangheta operates worldwide, all important decisions are made in Calabria. In an era of globalization, the drug trade remains relatively anachronistic. Cocaine from South America arrives in southern Italy before it is distributed across the European continent. The clans feel safe on their home turf, which they treat as their territory….

“The Piromalli-Molé are among the most powerful ‘Ndrangheta clans in the region around Gioia Tauro. They are wholesalers in the international cocaine business. They have family connections in South America, and they have their agents in Germany, including people like Carlo….

To this day, strategic alliances are formed between families in the ‘Ndrangheta through marriage….

“”Gratteri is the anti-mafia prosecutor in Reggio Calabria. The prosecutor believes that the weakness of the state is also the strength of the ‘Ndrangheta. The mob bosses provide jobs, help people sort out problems with the government bureaucracy and recruit their young blood from the army of the unemployed and the hopeless. Gratteri also has no illusions about the police, which he says is already infiltrated by the ‘Ndrangheta, because of close family ties.

previously: la famiglia

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la famiglia

so, we saw that at the time of italian unification — presumably a period of lots o’ social upheaval — italians started marrying their cousins more and more:

cavalli-sforza, et. al., put this down to increasing population size (more people around in the population, more cousins available to marry), and that may very well be right (altho i wonder about that). but i also think that people might just turn to marrying family as a sort-of security move in times of distress — like after the two world wars in italy.

another way that italians turned towards their families around this time period, especially in sicily, was in the development of the mafia. the feudal system (finally!) collapsed in sicily in the early part of the nineteenth century — and then the island was united to the rest of italy in 1860. (interesting times!) during all this upheaval, the mafia was born. originally it was simply a bunch of groups of extended family members and villagers (i.e. extended extended family members) banding together to protect themselves and their properties. aaaaand pretty soon they got into the protection racket. and the rest is godfather prequel material history.

a lot of the stories about the modern mafia (at least the ones i’ve read over the past couple of days) like to emphasize the almost corporate nature of the group now. you just swear an oath and you’re in. well, in some cases, yeah — but the various mafia clans are really mostly still that — clans.

from “Honour and Violence” [pgs. 88-89]:

“As is well known, mafia enterprise involves control over the local economy (including real estate, building contracts and markets), canvassing votes for politician-protectors and (since the 1970s) international drug-trafficking. There were well over a hundred of these families in Sicily as a whole and about twenty-five in Palermo alone. In total there were several thousand mafiosi. What is known about the composition and structure of these families?

“First, they include agnatic kinsmen — that is, blood relatives who are exclusively related through males or, differently phrased, related on the father’s side. Often, the core of these families consists of a father and his sons, a set of brothers, sometimes including one or more agnatic uncles and cousins. In particular, sets of brothers have always been very common in mafia families, both in the city and in the countryside.

“All these people are related by blood…. If in the absence of effective state control trust can be found anywhere, it is primarily in the bonds between agnatic kinsmen.

“Succession to positions of leadership usually follows the same agnatic lines. The oldest son often takes the place of his father, or, sometimes, his father’s brother or, less commonly, his mother’s brother….

“Bonds within and between mafia families are reinforced by intermarriage. Along with agnatic kinsmen, therefore, these families include in-laws, or affines. Also defined as kinsmen (parenti), they are relatives by marriage and as a rule not people to whom one is related by blood, although marriage between cousins does occur. Bonds with in-laws figure prominently in coalitions of mafiosi. Next to sets of agnatic kinsmen, one often finds sets of brothers-in-law as the core of these local groups of mafia families….

“Moreover, in order to illustrate the organizational flexibility and structural fluidity of the Sicilian mafia, matrilineal relations are also used to build powerful alliances. Of particular importance are the bonds between a mother’s brother and sister’s son since the position of leadership may also be transferred matrilineally….”

and, here from a report from the palermo public prosecutor’s office [pgs. 91 & 93]:

“The Spatolas were found to be one of the four Mafia Families forming a transatlantic colossus. The Cherry Hill Gambinos were another. The Inzerillos, closest of all clans to Stefano Bontate, were a third. The fourth, related to the other three by blood and marriage, were the Di Maggios of Palermo and southern New Jersey. Their intercontinental family ties resembled the Hapsburgs’ or Hohenzollerns’, the marriages arranged to strengthen dynasties and preserve the blood royal. There were six Spatolas involved, five Gambinos (three brothers and two cousins), four Di Maggios, and fifteen Inzerillos. The Gambinos’ mother’s brother was a Spatola. The Inzerillos’ father has married a Di Maggio, who brother had married a Spatola.

Salvatore Inzerillo, the biggest heroin broker of all, had been chosen to head the Family’s clan by his retiring uncle, Rosario Di Maggio…. Inzerillo was married to a Spatola [his mother’s brother’s daughter]. His sister was married to a Spatola. His uncle in New Jersey was married to a Gambino. His cousin and namesake in New Jersey was married to a Gambino. His cousin Tommaso was a brother-in-law of John Gambino, who was married to a different Gambino. His cousin Maria Concetta was the wife of John Gambino’s younger brother, Giuseppe. All the American-side members of these families were made Men of Honor from Sicily; and all had homes in or around Cherry Hill….

“These four families, living partly in Sicily and partly in New York, form a single clan unlike anything in Italy or the United States — the most potent Family in Cosa Nostra. John Gambino is the converging point in the United States for all of the group’s activities in Italy, and the final destination for its drug shipments. Salvatore Inzerillo has emerged as the Gambino brothers’ principal interlocutor, the central personage in Sicily, with myriad interests and heavy capital investments.”

la famiglia, indeed!

previously: il risorgimento and italian inbreeding? and inbreeding in italy and i wasn’t imagining it

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north vs. south

steve sailer mentions that in the latest PISA scores, “Northern Italians outscore Sicilians.”

yes. yes, they do. [link opens a spreadsheet.]

from table S.I.c. on that spreadsheet – “Mean score, variation and gender differences in student performance on the reading scale”:

448 – Italy (Provincia Calabria) – on the “toe” of italy
451 – Italy (Provincia Campania) – southern italy
453 – Italy (Provincia Sicilia) – sicily
469 – Italy (Provincia Sardegna) – sardinia
471 – Italy (Provincia Molise) – southern italy
473 – Italy (Provincia Basilicata) – southern italy
480 – Italy (Provincia Abruzzo) – central italy
481 – Italy (Provincia Lazio) – central italy
489 – Italy (Provincia Puglia) – the “heel” of the boot
490 – Italy (Provincia Autonoma of Bolzano) – northern italy – 73% speak italian, 26% speak german – heavily settled by italians during the “italianization programme” of the 1920s. sorry. that was about the city of bolzano, not the province which is still majority german speaking.
490 – Italy (Provincia Umbria) – central italy
491 – Italy (Provincia Liguria) – northern italy
493 – Italy (Provincia Toscana) – central italy
496 – Italy (Provincia Piemonte) – northern italy
499 – Italy (Provincia Marche) – central italy
502 – Italy (Provincia Emilia Romagna) – northern italy
505 – Italy (Provincia Veneto) – northern italy
508 – Italy (Provincia Trento) – northern italy
513 – Italy (Provincia Friuli Venezia Giulia) – northern italy
514 – Italy (Provincia Valle d’Aosta) – northern italy
522 – Italy (Provincia Lombardia) – named, of course, after the lombards, the bunch o’ germans who settled there once upon a time.

back to you, dennis!

update 12/11: from table S.I.u. on that spreadsheet – “Mean score, variation and gender differences in student performance on the mathematics scale”:

442 – Italy (Provincia Calabria) – on the “toe” of italy
447 – Italy (Provincia Campania) – southern italy
450 – Italy (Provincia Sicilia) – sicily
456 – Italy (Provincia Sardegna) – sardinia
467 – Italy (Provincia Molise) – southern italy
473 – Italy (Provincia Lazio) – central italy
474 – Italy (Provincia Basilicata) – southern italy
476 – Italy (Provincia Abruzzo) – central italy
486 – Italy (Provincia Umbria) – central italy
488 – Italy (Provincia Puglia) – the “heel” of the boot
491 – Italy (Provincia Liguria) – northern italy
493 – Italy (Provincia Toscana) – central italy
493 – Italy (Provincia Piemonte) – northern italy
499 – Italy (Provincia Marche) – central italy
502 – Italy (Provincia Valle d’Aosta) – northern italy
503 – Italy (Provincia Emilia Romagna) – northern italy
507 – Italy (Provincia Autonoma of Bolzano) – northern italy
508 – Italy (Provincia Veneto) – northern italy
510 – Italy (Provincia Friuli Venezia Giulia) – northern italy
514 – Italy (Provincia Trento) – northern italy
516 – Italy (Provincia Lombardia) – named, of course, after the lombards, the bunch o’ germans who settled there once upon a time.

from table S.I.x. on that spreadsheet – “Mean score, variation and gender differences in student performance on the science scale”:

443 – Italy (Provincia Calabria) – on the “toe” of italy
446 – Italy (Provincia Campania) – southern italy
451 – Italy (Provincia Sicilia) – sicily
466 – Italy (Provincia Basilicata) – southern italy
469 – Italy (Provincia Molise) – southern italy
474 – Italy (Provincia Sardegna) – sardinia
480 – Italy (Provincia Abruzzo) – central italy
482 – Italy (Provincia Lazio) – central italy
490 – Italy (Provincia Puglia) – the “heel” of the boot
497 – Italy (Provincia Umbria) – central italy
498 – Italy (Provincia Liguria) – northern italy
500 – Italy (Provincia Toscana) – central italy
501 – Italy (Provincia Piemonte) – northern italy
504 – Italy (Provincia Marche) – central italy
508 – Italy (Provincia Emilia Romagna) – northern italy
513 – Italy (Provincia Autonoma of Bolzano) – northern italy
518 – Italy (Provincia Veneto) – northern italy
521 – Italy (Provincia Valle d’Aosta) – northern italy
523 – Italy (Provincia Trento) – northern italy
524 – Italy (Provincia Friuli Venezia Giulia) – northern italy
526 – Italy (Provincia Lombardia) – named, of course, after the lombards, the bunch o’ germans who settled there once upon a time.

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