Posts Tagged ‘mafia’

The Old and the Young

In Italy, March to Athens, Naples on 10 February 2012 at 22:47
March to Athens
Day 95-XXI, Naples.

Survivors of the internal assembly

Naples, February 10


Dear people,


The rains are coming down over Naples, and people stay inside. So despite the great stage, days are wet and sad. The assembly on the ecomafia that we planned was cancelled because of the weather. We are definitely not as pious as the average hitman of the camorra, and today we payed the price for it.

Instead of a public assembly we held one of our ridiculous internal assemblies. Four hours it took us to reach a consensus on the first point of the agenda, the route up to Potenza. There were six points left after that, but only a handful of people had resisted up to that point.

Our major internal problem at the moment is that the group is being held hostage by the Old Man.

The reason for the Old Man to come along with the march was because he had nothing better to do this winter. He doesn’t really participate. Only when we speak about the route, he never fails to block any leg that is longer than twenty kilometres.

It’s exasperating. In certain places there simply doesn’t exist an inhabited centre within twenty kilometres, but for the Old Man it doesn’t matter. As far he is concerned we camp in the woods and hold an assembly with the animals like Snow White.

Personally, I’m convinced that the consensus model is not the way to go, precisely because it allows for one single person to block an entire assembly. The Old Man is going to cause more trouble, without a doubt, and I wonder how long we are going to put up with it. Maybe we should learn from the prehistoric nomad tribes. They simply abbandoned the elderly to their fate when they weren’t able to come along anymore.


In a certain sense, this is the same problem of Italy as a whole. Like I said in an earlier post, the elderly are keeping society hostage, because they don’t confer any responsability to the young. For youngsters it’s almost impossible to start a carreer in Italy. With one exception. The mafia.

The mafia is an umbrella term for various criminal syndicats in Southern Italy – Cosa Nostra in Sicily, the ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria, the Sacra Corona Unita in Apulia and the Camorra in Naples. Together they form the most successful corporation of Italy. The mafia is bigger than Fiat.

The mafia doesn’t abide by the rules of Italian  bureaucracy, which makes it a lot more agile. And the mafia appreciates youthful talent. If you dedicate your life to the Organisation, you can go a long way.

At ten or eleven years you start off as a palo. It means you keep an eye out in the neighbourhood. You report on unusual things, you spy on certain people. At fifteen or sixteen, you get your own motorino, and you can act as a courier or a drugs runner. At eighteen you can enter the inner circle of the clan. In your early twenties you can become a hitman, and if you’re really good you can rule your own neighbourhood as a boss at twenty-five, sometimes even younger.

At that point you have all you want. Money, fast cars, women, coke, and the power over life and death. In the meantime, your former classmates who followed the rules have just received their university degree, and are still living at home, unemployed, or working in a supermarket for 600 euros per month.

A real change in Italy can only happen if the younger generation rebels. But it’s not that easy. In the North-African countries the majority of people is under twenty-five. Over there the youth has critical mass. Over here, they are relatively few. And what’s worse, they are becoming less. The fertility rate in Italy is one of the lowest in the world. On average, parents only bare 1.4 children, which means that Italians are at risk of extinction. In the end, even though people continue to view them as a danger, it’s only the immigrants who can save this country.