The Joe Public Guide Series


The Joe Public Guide to the Sicilian Mafia


Introduction                   Contents


The Mafia is a highly organised criminal organisation that was born in Sicily in about 1860.

It is still disturbingly active and casts a shadow over the whole of Sicilian society. In 2008, it was estimated that 80% of businesses still pay protection money.

Mafia has become a generic label for the whole world panoply of organised crime; Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Cheten, Albanian, Turkish, and so on, even though they have little or nothing to do with the Sicilian original.

There are even other criminal organisation based in other regions of Italy, and all of them are sometimes called Mafia:

  • The Sacra Corona Unita, in Puglia (the heel of the Italian boot)
  • The ‘Ndrangheta’, in Calabria (the toe)
  • The Camorra in Naples and the surrounds.

None of them are as powerful or as well organised as the Sicilian mafia, which later gave birth to the American mafia as a result of emigration.

In Sicily only Sicilians can be initiated into membership of the mafia.

This organisation pursues power and money by cultivating the art of intimidating and killing people, and getting away with it. The fear generated by the mafia guarantees total silence by both victims and witnesses. With no witnesses there are no convictions.

The mafia also organises itself in a unique way that combines the attributes of a shadow state, an illegal business, and a sworn secret society like the Freemasons.

The American mafia began as a purely Sicilian organisation, but later became Pan Italian and then American Italian.

The birth of the five mafia Families in New York, has had a toxic and corrupting influence on the whole of America’s police, judiciary, politics and general economy since the early 1900s. These Families are still active.

Even in 2011, the American authorities arrested 110 people in their largest ever operation against the mafia. The resultant charges included murder, murder conspiracy, loan sharking, arson, robbery, narcotics trafficking, extortion, illegal gambling, and labour racketeering.