‘Politics and mafia are two powers on the same

‘Politics and mafia are two powers on the same territory; either they make war or they reach an agreement’ (Borsellino……)  quoted from Paolo Borsellino the Anti-Mafia Prosecutor who was assassinated by the Mafia in Palermo, Sicily, in 1992. Within many different nations, of all different levels of wealth, organised crime holds a role on the political stage. Public funding for public infrastructure and business can often be managed and twisted by criminal organisations and thus, leave room for their influence within society (Schelling, 1971). The presence of organised crime within Italy is no secret as has been the case with thanks to the glamorization of the Mafia within Hollywood and the media. But a true depiction of the mafia would not solely portray a life of designer handbags and supercars, instead we would be exposed to Mafia infiltration in Italian society, from protection money to corrupt politicians; the reality is perhaps even more gruesome than that we as an audience are given permission to see. Just one statistic to give an initial insight into the criminal underworld of Italian society is that in the three years prior to Berlusconi’s election it was noted that ‘6000 businessmen and members of Parliament have been investigated for corruption by a fearless team of prosecutors, known as the mani puliti (clean hands) conducting an investigation known as tangentopoli (often translated as Bribesville)’ (REF). But firstly, it is important to define the different aspects mentioned in the essay title. Civil society, according to the Oxford Handbook is by all rights difficult to limit to just one definition but is best described as ‘the patterns of collective action and interaction that provide societies with at least partial answers to questions of structure and authority, meaning and belonging, citizenship and self direction’ (Edwards, 2013). In light of this, the book goes on to cite Michael Walzer’s definition of civil society as ‘the sphere of uncoerced human association between the individual and the state, in which people undertake collective action for normative and substantive purposes, relatively independent of government and the market’ (ibid.). Following this definition we can understand ‘politics is the constrained use of social power’ (Goodins, 2011), in that politics is social persuasion, the power to direct a body of people towards your way of thinking and enabling them to act as an entity as opposed to an individual. Like the other terms, there are many different definitions we can draw upon in order to define ‘economics’. A well suited explanation to this essay is ‘economics is concerned with the man’s ordinary business of life. Human beings perform various activities in the achievement of wealth and in its proper uses’ (Siddiqui, 1993). This allows us to understand economics as a something that is more personal than just the stock market or budgets. McLean and McMillan assert the mafia as ‘An analytical concept that applies to criminal organizations that aspire to obtain a monopoly over the protection of illegal transactions, share a common ritual, rules of behaviour, and ways to coordinate activities, but ultimately retain a high degree of independence’ (McLean and McMillan, 2009). The mafia emerged in Sicily at the start of the of the nineteenth century as a product of a poor transition to market economy where the end of the Sicilian feudal system was met with a higher number of economic transactions and an increased demand for the property protection (Gambetta, 1996). This need was not able to be met by the Italian government and so alternative resolutions were sought; this with Sicily’s high number of ex army men and guards who were already trained in the us of violence allowed for the emergence of the Sicilian Mafia. Primarily, the Mafia did offer property protection and regulated trade however it soon became a protector of illegal activity and the protection became forced with violent and unfair penalties should you not use their services (McLean and McMIllan, 2009).’There is a high risk of corruption for businesses operating in Italy. Public procurement, in particular, presents a high risk of corruption, as it involves large resources and exposes companies to organized crime. The integrity of public officials is marred by their relationships with organized crime and businesses. Extortion, active and passive bribery, bribing a foreign public official, fraud and money laundering are criminalized under the Criminal Code of the Italian Republic. Anti-corruption laws are generally implemented effectively, but officials sometimes engage in corrupt practices with impunity’ (Italy Corruption Report, 2017). Today, the Mafia has a clear ‘relationship’ with the Italian State and is most clearly evident in regards to the ‘trattativa Stato-Mafia’, a supposed agreement between key member of Italian politics and the Sicilian Mafia, Cosa Nostra, in order to put a stop the horrific violent crimes against the state that coloured 1992-1993. When Prime Minister Amato was elected he began a anti-terrorism campaign which resulted in the arrest of many members of the Mafia, unfortunately, this did not put an end to the violent attacks from the Mafia and in the years that followed many more politicians and members of the general public were killed. However, these attacks were not supported by all members of Cosa Nostra and this led to collusion with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia movement. Though there is no concrete evidence, it has been suggested that in return for their political support, Berlusconi offered them judiciary benefits- if true, a clear example of the Mafia in politics (Bastaniello, 2015).The government uses the Mafia in order to defend and advance the state’s interest but, perhaps even more clear, is the use of organised crime to protect the personal interests of the political elite, their relatives and their friends. But what are the benefits for the Mafia should they be politically involved? An involvement in politics allows members of the Mafia to push for their own agenda, allowing them to have more control over their areas as well as allocate public funds for their own benefit. This can be exemplified as, according to the corruption report, ‘there is a high risk of corruption in Italy’s public procurement sector. Most corruption cases in recent years have involved government procurement. Companies perceive favoritism in decisions by government officials to be very widespread. Diversion of public funds is also perceived to be widespread. Over a third of companies believe that corruption has prevented them from winning a public procurement contract. Bribes are irregular payments are perceived to be widespread in the process of awarding public contracts and licences. Foreign investors have complained of a lack of transparency and complicated bureaucracy in procurement procedures’ (Italy Corruption Report, 2017).Following the murders of Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone, the famous corruption scandal known as ‘Tangentopoli’ came to light and as a result, brought down the First Republic. The investigation led to the uncovering of many politicians and their corruption as more and more public officials started to confess. ‘Mani Pulite’ is to this day, one of the worst scandals in modern Italian history; as expected, the public became aware of the shocking involvement of its political elite in organised crime and the public’s outrage led to the collapse of five different political groups that had been in control of Italy since 1946, these were  the Christian Democracy, the Italian Socialist Party, the Italian Socialist Democratic Party, and the Italian Liberal Party. Following this, corruption is still rife and is known to be particularly prevalent within Italy’s public services sector. According to the Italy Corruption Report, ‘nearly half of Italians believe that the issuance of business permits involves bribes and abuse of power’ (Italy Corruption Report, 2017). Due to corruption, major public-works in Italy will often take significantly longer than they would in other countries in Europe. The Mafia in everyday Italy is without a doubt present and holds a significant role within civil society. Organised crime has spread from the South in to developing in the wealthier North of Italy whereby industrialisation and business opportunities are more accessible. The major clans include ‘Ndrangheta of Calabria, the Camorra of Naples, Cosa Nostra in Sicily and Sacra Corona Unita in Puglia; these ‘families’ continue to have success both in Italy and abroad by operating within everyday life. According to the Justice Minister “The persistence of the mafia is not an accident of history, it tells us something profound; it is a reflection of a social and political crisis. Mafia power fills a vacuum, it depends on the state withdrawing, on the weakness of civil society, on problems of integration. It slips into the fissures, taking advantage of the slightest weakness to get stronger. Our enemies are proactive, dynamic and multifaceted. They are capable of adapting to social and economic change” (Carrier, 2017).