The Mafia and the Italian state
The Mafia in Italy (Cosa Nostra in Sicily, Camorra in Naples and Campagna, ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, and Santa Corona in Apulia) is a specifi c Italian form of organized criminal activity. It functions as an imposed, by force, parasite intermediary between work, production and consumption, between the citizen and the state. It is active in the territory of the whole state and also outside its borders, yet is mainly associated with the South of Italy (Mezzogiorno), extortion, racket (pizzo), smuggling, drug trafficking, brutal murders, as well as exerting considerable influence on the life of the state. The Mafia came into existence in the South of Italy as early as in the mid-17th century. At the foundations of its appearance there lay the will to extend its assistance to others. It was not until recently that the external world learned about the structure of the Italian Mafia. Investigation secret services had not dared to expect the Mafia members to break the conspiracy of silence (omerta) until some Mafia traitors, the so-called ‘contrite’ (viddani, pentiti) came out of the criminal underground. One of the reasons why the Mafia has been so strong and long-lasting is the chronic weakness of the Italian state as a community and the impossibility of executing loyalty. This has led to strengthening the sense of great isolation of individual persons (scioltezza), who did not feel morally responsible to anybody but their family, which – in turn – yielded a perfect soil for the rise of clientele and corruption. The absolute dominance of the family can, however, bring on negative effects: the drive towards securing wealth and peace to the family makes state officials resort to nepotism that, in the Italian system, has developed into the so-called parantela, that is solidarity ties based on community of interests. Since each Italian is involved in a network of competing parantelas, which cannot liquidate one another, there exists a natural need to make oneself secure. This situation determines the space of deficiency of reliable execution of law and agreements by the state which has been filled up by the Mafia. The Italian state is fighting against the Mafia – more and more effectively in recent years. Th e activity of the murdered judges: Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borselino has led to the appearance of the state structure designed to fight the Mafia – the Anti-Mafia Investigation Bureau (Direzione Investigativa Antimafi a – DIA) – modeled on the American FBI, and Home Anti-Mafia Bureau (Direzione Nazionale Antimafi a – DNA), the so-called ‘super-prosecutor’s department’ formed at the Court of Cassation, which consists of home prosecutor in charge of anti-mafia matters and his deputies. Th e task of the DNA is to coordinate investigations concerning organized crime, particularly those carried out by anti-mafia regional bureaus (Direzioni Distrettuali Antimafi a – DDA), which are established at prosecutor’s offices which function at tribunals situated in the capitals of districts.