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How can la Cosa Nostra build and nurture a solid relationship with the government?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Erebus, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Minstrel

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    I, John Gotti, am remembered as the greatest criminal Mastermind in American history. I became the head of La Costra Nostra, an underworld group of Italian entrepreneural businessmen who were unjustly prosecuted by our government. While we may not have always made an honest buck, our heroism was above reproach as we always looked out for communities and the little guy in society. We supplied hard-working Americans with liqour when the snobby elites outlawed it during the prohibition era, helped the government invade Italy to end facism during WW2, and contributed to an almost successful assassination of US enemy Fidel Castro. However, our patriotism was rewarded with treachery, as our own government betrayed us with the RICO laws, destroying our benevolent organization.

    After some time-traveling shenanigans involving a purple giant and a magical guantlet, I have managed to go back in time to change history in our favor. I intend to ingratiate the mafia into governmental politics to protect us from treacherous leaders who would use us as scapegoats. This was tried in the 60s when we got JFK elected. However, he betrayed us when he hired his brother as attorney general and gave him the task of going after us. They used and threw us away, which forced to have them both killed, as all traitors should pay a harsh price.

    I need a way to encourage cooperation between us and the government so that we become entangled with them, preventing double-crosses like this from happening. What could we have done differently to ensure this outcome ?
     
  2. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    Making the case that they are providing wealth, community and stability to a willing government. When one strong criminal organization is in charge of the underworld, this ensures that violence is kept at a minimum, for there are no significant power grabs and internecine crime wars to disrupt the peace. The Italian-American mafia also had (and to a smaller extent has) a vested interest in putting up a public show of providing for their own community of Italian-Americans, as these are the people whom they recruit from and expect to find refuge with in the case of government interference. To a lesser degree the mob provided this same 'security' to allied minority communities at different times in history. If your Italian-American mafia can make the case that they provide for all the downtrodden of New York and beyond, this could encourage the local government to make some under the desk budget cuts, which every government appreciates.

    You can also look into the case of Joseph Colombo, the former don of the Colombo crime family, who was a major figure in the Italian-American civil rights movement of the 1970s, a movement which to a large part functioned to ingratiate himself into the community and make him untouchable (for a while) for the police and federal agencies. Up until he was shot, it was a rather effective shield. You could simply harness that movement and go a step further. What would have happened if the civil rights movement had become a true political force? What would have happened if Colombo was elected mayor?
     
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    With bribery, of course. You *did* say this was politics, right?

    I'm only partially kidding here. There's excellent documentation how this works in Italy, specifically in places like Naples or in rural Calabria (well, all of Calabria is rural, but the point stands). The government has to get benefit. Pace Ban, if the government has to be persuaded to see the benefits, the goal isn't accomplished, because you'll have to keep re-persuading. To quote the redoubtable Mayor Richard Daley, a good politician is one who, when bought, stays bought.
     
  4. Ban

    Ban Sir Laserface Article Team

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    I'm afraid I have to disagree with this. Every interest group has to keep persuading and re-persuading those in power to maintain their stance, from environmental protection groups to major companies. You can only prevent this if you manage to establish your position as the position of the cultural hegemony by ingraining it so deeply within the culture you operate in that it becomes indistinguishable from nature, but if we go that far we'll have to pull up neo-marxist literature and .... will you look at the time.

    Anyways, Naples or Calabria aren't hotspots of mafia (though importantly NOT the Cosa Nostra) activity simply due to bribery, but also because of electioneering and the political unprofitability of combatting crime. A criminal organization can exert major influence on how an election goes, making allying oneself to one of them a major boon. As for the political profit, rooting out organized crime takes years, meaning that the results of the action will most likely be felt in the succeeding term, making it a boon not to your reign but the reign of your potential rival.

    Back to the subject of the Italian-American mafia, the five families were famously off-and-on allied with Tammany Hall specifically for reasons of electioneering. Erebus could replicate this in a more modern day setting. Once organized crime has made its way into political society, it's not unforeseeable for them to extend their reach into the cultural realm. From there on they "only" need to change the narrative by convincing society at large that organized crime is a thing that will exist no matter what, and because it will always exist it is better to have a stable force on the wrong side of the law that an unstable one. Past relations between Japanese government(s) and the Yakuza could make for an interesting relation to study.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
    skip.knox likes this.

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