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(en) Italy, Galatea FAI: Mafia and anti-mafia: between entertainment and capitalist relations (ca, de, it, pt, tr)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 30 Jan 2023 08:45:13 +0200

On 16 January Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested by the carabinieri of the ROS and GIS at the Palermo clinic "La Maddalena". ---- The comments of jubilation and congratulations towards the carabinieri from both political alignments, the informative nonsense concerning Messina Denaro (condoms and used viagra, bothering a daughter who doesn't even bear her surname, interviewing the ladies who underwent chemotherapy together with the boss etc) the petty or pseudo-satirical conspiracy (agreements between the State and Messina Denaro for his arrest, memes on commercial social networks etc) are prolific as much as I can't. ---- Unlike the arrests of Riina (1993) and Provenzano (2006), with Messina Denaro we notice a qualitative leap in the spectacularization of the arrest - thanks to the omnipresence of the new media - and a disturbing insight into how the fight to the mafia is only the prerogative of the State and Capital
-The question of information
As we have analyzed in the past 1, media professionals essentially focus on three points regarding the contents to be conveyed: the choice of information, the highlighting of the news and finally the context of the events that occurred.

Through these three points, the mass media determine the direction of individuals' thoughts and conversations, focusing on specific topics or events and giving a binary perception and understanding (good or bad, right or wrong, etc.) of the latter.

In this way, journalistic information "is not limited to informing the public, but also has a sort of limitation on the part of the state, because not all public activities are public. The mass media, with the changes and speed of their action, approach the public in a different way. From mediators of public opinion they become their creators. Although the scope of things that are disclosed to the public expands to those that are not just politics, the public proper shrinks, losing its former critical function."2

The loss of the critical function - with consequent apathy or political disaffection - on the part of individuals, models human relationships as mere utilitarian and consumerist acts, concentrating, for a few days, on the public enemy of the moment: yesterday the homeless man who stabbed a tourist in the station, today the mafia boss, tomorrow the next public media enemy who will remain on the crest of the wave for no more than a week.

As if we were in the "two minutes of hate" of Orwellian memory, the frustration of individuals then focuses on the personification of the distortions of the system and never reaches the next step: that of criticizing the system as such.

This normalizing (and also moralizing, let's add) function of social and economic relations is useful in the current anti-mafia contexts.

For years, regional and national political and economic forces have established relationships with the mafia clans. When the latter, however, claimed to change the cards on the table, presenting themselves no longer as allies and/or subordinates but as the masters of the territories controlled by them, the repressive police and judicial machine was not long in coming.

The political and bourgeois world has publicly disengaged in asking for support and/or support for organized crime groups and embracing the fight against the mafia.

Sciascia had denounced in the article "The anti-mafia professionals" published in Corriere della Sera in 1987, how the fight against a top-level criminal organization colluding with capitalism could become a tool at the service of local economic and political powers to renew themselves.

In his article, Sciascia reports an examination of the fight against the mafia in Sicily, starting from his previous writings, passing through the management of the "iron prefect" Cesare Mori during the first years of the fascist dictatorship, arriving at contemporary examples: "let's take a mayor who out of sentiment or calculation begins to exhibit himself - in television and school interviews, in conventions, lectures and marches - as an anti-mafia member: even if he will devote all his time to these performances and will never find any to deal with the problems of the country or the city that administers (of which there are many, in every country, in every city: from the lack of water to the abundant rubbish), can be considered as in an iron barrel. Maybe someone very timidly, he will dare to reproach him for the lack of administrative commitment; and from outside. But from within, in the city council and in his party, who will ever dare to promote a vote of no confidence, an action that puts him in the minority and causes his replacement? It may be that, in the end, there is someone: but running the risk of being branded as a mafioso, and with him all those who will follow him."3

What Sciascia got at the time was a heavy criticism from a series of intellectuals and institutional figures because he ignored and/or did not consider how the clans had destroyed (overbuilding, environmental pollution, etc.) the Sicilian territory.

What these characters ignored was the competition between the clans, the institutions and the bourgeoisie in carrying out these policies of destruction of the territory based on the logic of profit: just look at the sack of Palermo during the union of Salvo Lima (1958-1963) or the presence, still in the Sicilian capital, of the Catania building companies between the end of the 70s and the early 80s. 4

The recent judicial cases of the former president of Confindustria Sicilia Antonello Montante 5 and, above all, of the former president of the prevention measures section of the Palermo court Silvana Saguto 6, have shown that the writer from Racalmuto had not been very wrong in 1987: the anti-mafia in the hands of the bourgeoisie and the institutions (and therefore of power structures) operates in an interclassist way (as it brings together exploited and exploiting people) and institutional renewal (presenting the State as perennially besieged by mafia clans).

-On Matteo Messina Denaro and the mafia issue

Thanks to Drepanitanus for this paragraph

The media operation carried out in recent days has overshadowed the economic relations between the bourgeoisie and the clans of Western Sicily linked to Matteo Messina Denaro.

Starting from the decades-long relationships with the D'Alì family, powerful landowners, salt pans, bankers and politicians, the Messina Denaros - first the father, Francesco "Don Ciccio", and then the son, Matteo - managed to bond with the bourgeoisie present in the territory and to place, at the same time, various front names: from "Valtur" of Carmelo Patti 7 to the numerous "Despar" managed by Giuseppe Grigoli 8, from the contract entrusted to the Moricis to structure the port of Trapani for the event of the 2005 America's Cup 9 to the construction of wind farms by Vito Nicastri's companies 10 - structures which, today, continue to be built by other companies present in the area. 11

In the exceptional situation created in thirty years in which "ci manciaru tutti (they all ate us, ndt)", the bubble burst by the arrest of Matteo Messina Denaro constitutes the classic "pulcinella's secret": a truism that becomes public domain for the purpose of amazement, wonder and satire.

The picture that emerges, however, is the marriage between Capitalism and the mafia.

Numerous writers and analysts have gone wild in describing this union with lots of names to be fed to public ridicule or sanctification.

The request for state intervention, intended as controller of the actions of individuals and of the economy, is part of eradicating the criminal phenomenon and keeping the distribution and circulation of goods intact.

It must be said, however, that the mafia clans are an integral part of the social and economic fabric - and not a merely subcultural or behavioral factor as exposed at an institutional 12 and academic intellectual level between the 1940s and 1970s. twentieth century.

Eradicating groups of this kind is unthinkable and impossible with today's corporate structure: the social, economic and political functions they perform (recruitment of people as exploited labor and mere support for certain parties) come in handy in contexts of cyclical crisis of Capital.

The phenomenon of the "mafia bourgeoisie", formulated at the end of the 70s 13, fits into this specific context, outlining a series of tasks adopted by mafia groups in increasing and reinvesting in capitalist production processes, forming and maintaining relationships of domination and subordination in the social sphere.

In this way, criminal groups are able to influence political decisions and to grab public funds when other productive sectors controlled by them are in crisis - due to various internal and/or external factors.

The existence of this "mafia bourgeoisie" has become public knowledge since the 1980s, a period in which there was a change of course adopted by the Italian State towards the mafia clans.

During this phase, the pentiti of the clans of the time had confirmed what was affirmed a decade earlier, namely that the mafia was an integral part of the capitalist system and whose links with national and regional political power were (and still are) intertwined.

To avoid the loss of support and profits in the face of public opinion, the national and regional political world, together with the economic world, have begun to present a law-abiding bourgeoisie in a positive and heroic way and, at the same time, deprecate the collusions with the mafia clans.

The bourgeoisie (anti-mafia and mafia) that have arisen, apparently and publicly, oppose each other. The only difference, however, is only in relations with the laws of the State; for the rest, the production and exploitation management remains unchanged on both sides.

The effect that such a situation had was devastating: individuals accepted, enthusiastically and/or resignedly, an institutional power and a capitalist mode of production ready to defend and feed them.

The current victory of the State and of Capitalism, together with their allies and supporters, lies precisely in the recognition of the role of domination and control of life - and therefore not of a State that beats the mafia, as divulged by the main newspapers.

To unhinge all of this, a fight against the mafia is needed which overturns (and does not continue) the existing power relations (laws, sanctifications, etc.) and aims at a non-alienating management and equitable distribution of production.


1Paragraph "Political apathy as resignation and victory of power". Link: https://gruppoanarchicogalatea.noblogs.org/post/2022/09/11/la-catena-elettorale-seconda-parte/


3Article published in Corriere della Sera, 10 January 1987. Link: https://www.archivioantimafia.org/sciascia.php

4The presence of Carmelo Costanzo's construction company in Palermo for the contract for the Palazzo dei Congressi was a clear and limpid example of collusion between political power, business and mafia clans. Those who denounced this state of affairs were, at the time, Pio La Torre, deputy of the Italian Communist Party, Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa, prefect of Palermo, and Pippo Fava, journalist of "I Siciliani". Both were killed by mafia clans.

5Since the second half of the 2000s, the entrepreneur Antonello Montante had been the protagonist and champion of the fight against protection money and collusion between companies and mafia clans. The political alliances built first with Lombardo and then with Crocetta, followed by various anti-mafia declarations, had brought Montante to the top of Confindustria (both regional and national). With the arrest that took place on May 14, 2018, it was discovered how Montante had used the economic power and political ties built up in the past decades to consolidate his position through corrupt practices.

6Silvana Saguto, magistrate and considered as a champion of the fight against the mafia, created a corruptive system on the management of assets and companies seized from mafia clans. Following the police investigations, a disturbing picture emerged of how this character and his "magic circle" (made up of judicial administrators, lawyers, etc.) had managed the goods and seized companies.

7"Carmelo Patti (ex Valtur): a 1.5 billion euro treasure confiscated by the Antimafia", IlSole24Ore, 24 November 2018. Link: https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/carmelo-patti-ex-valtur- treasure-15-billion-confiscated-by-anti-mafia-AEcskkmG?refresh_ce=1

8"Trapani, mafia: 700 million confiscated from Grigoli, king of Despar supermarkets", Il Fatto Quotidiano, 24 September 2013. Link: https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2013/09/24/trapani-sequestrati-700- millions-to-giuseppe-grigoli-king-of-supermarkets-despar/721524/

9"Mafia: storm on the port of Trapani. Seals to the places of the America's Cup", La Gazzetta Meridionale, 9 April 2013. Link: https://www.lagazzettameridionale.com/2013/04/mafia-bufera-sul-porto-di-trapani.html

10 "Mafia: the plants of the wind power king confiscated", Rinnovabili.it, 3 April 2013. Link: https://www.rinnovabili.it/energia/eolico/mafia-sicilia-confisca-re-eolico-655/

11From the agreements stipulated between Isla srl, Impresa Portuale srl of Trapani and the company Riccardo Sanges & C., numerous components arrived in March 2022 for the construction of wind farms in the Trapani area. Edison, in June of the same year, inaugurated a wind farm in the countryside of Mazara del Vallo, Castelvetrano and Salemi.

12On 23 June 1949, during the discussion in the Senate on the conditions of public order in Sicily, the Christian Democrat Mario Scelba, then Minister of the Interior, responded in this sense to the accusations of collusion between the Mafia, banditry and the Christian Democrats: "[...]Honorable Senators, it suffices to set foot in Palermo, or, without going to Palermo, to meet with someone from the Province of Palermo, for after a few minutes we will talk about the mafia; and they talk about it in every sense, because if a buxom girl passes by, a Sicilian will tell you that she is a mafia girl, or if a boy is precocious, he will tell you that he is a mafia member. There is talk of the mafia cooked up in all sorts of ways: but, ladies and gentlemen, it seems to me that this is exaggerated.

[...]the current government did not create the mafia phenomenon, nor did the Minister of the Interior create it: it will have its roots and centuries-old traditions, but it is certain that the Government has taken concrete action to eliminate the social causes that can favor the mafia system.[...]". "Senate of the Republic, CCXXXII Session, Thursday 23 June 1949, Morning Session", pag. 8652-8653 (28-29 of the pdf document) Link: https://www.senato.it/service/PDF/PDFServer/BGT/487082.pdf

13See Santino Umberto, "The mafia bourgeoisie. Materials of an analysis path", Giuseppe Impastato Sicilian Documentation Center, Palermo, 1994; Mineo Mario, "Writings on Sicily", Flaccovio, Palermo, 1995

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