If one carefully examines Italian organized crime, it is obviously made up of significantly different realities. Far from being a uniform phenomenon, the Camorra is an umbrella term relating to both entities that resemble Cosa Nostra and assorted, uncoordinated clans. In Sicily there is more than one “mafia”, as testified by the presence of the Stidda and Cursoti families. In Puglia there are multiple criminal organizations. Decentralized partner groups are also operative in Italy’s Central and Northern regions. And there have even emerged completely new local entities (such as Mafia Capitale in Rome) that at first glance are totally different from more well-known mafias. If it is easy to understand why mafias should always be inflected in the plural, it is much harder to comprehend why fighting against mafias needs to be pluralized: “antimafias”. There exist an institutional antimafia, a social antimafia (reflecting demands stemming from civil society) and even, for quite some time now, an “inauthentic”, or bogus, antimafia, made up of people who are intimately linked with mafia organizations and yet proudly parade their membership in antimafia associations. In this passionate essay, the author aims to show that it is possible to take on mafias if one is familiar with their range of organizational structures and uses the right tools to exploit their weak points.
Antonio La Spina teaches Sociology at the Guido Carli Free International University for Social Studies (LUISS) in Rome.