Origins of the Mafia - PopMatters
the historical laxity of law enforcement in protecting citizens
How does such an organization survive into the twenty-first century? It has a great deal to do with social factors - things like high unemployment, widespread lack of confidence in the competence of law enforcement authorities, distrust of the state. But the general secretiveness of the people is one of the main reasons organised crime is still so powerful in the Italian South, where common folk often seem suspicious of even the most ordinary social forces. The Italian ethos is based on the realities of everyday life: Italians presume that their elected leaders are thieves motivated by greed. Businessmen presume that associates will steal at the first opportunity. Labor unions presume that employers will seek to exploit employees whenever possible. Spouses presume that marital infidelity is simply a question of human nature, and even use a particular word, to describe cuckolded husbands.
Our history of the Mafia presents information on its origins.
During the 1960s, the Sicilian "Cupola" and the American"Commission" began to seriously cooperate in the narcotics trade,despite their expressed sentiment that heroin and cocaine were somehow less"respectable" products than extortion and murder. The Sicilian faction was still more ruthless than its American counterpart, often resorting to the murder of judges and other public officials, as well as journalists, whose activities they considered inconvenient. Palermo's Falcone-Borsellino Airport is named after two such judges, and there is a monument in Piazza 13 Vittime (13 Victims), at the end of Palermo's Via Cavour, dedicated to the memory of people killed by the Mafia.