Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions

By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab | Go to book overview

Conservative

Gordon Hawkins. God and the Mafia.

A perplexing and elusive problem confronts the student seeking information about organized crime. It concerns the concept "organized crime" itself. For a curious feature characterizes almost all the literature on the subject, up to and including the Task Force Report on this topic published in 1967 by the President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. This is that a large proportion of what has been written seems not to be dealing with an empirical matter at all. It is almost as though what is referred to as organized crime belonged to the realm of metaphysics or theology.

Indeed the analogy with theology is quite striking. Nor is it merely a matter of occasional similarities or likenesses, but rather of a systematic resemblance recurring in a wide variety of different sources. The parallelism is so pervasive that it is difficult to dismiss it as altogether fortuitous. But before considering its significance it may be well to illustrate it.

Take first the question of the existence of organized crime, a matter about which, like the existence of God, doubts have been expressed. On this subject Estes Kefauver, in his Crime in America, which is based on testimony taken at the hearings before, and upon reports of, the Senate Crime Committee between 1950 and 1951, writes as follows:

A nationwide crime syndicate does exist in the United States of America, despite the protestations of a strangely assorted company of criminals, self-serving politicians, plain blind fools, and others who may be honestly misguided, that there is no such combine . . . . The national crime syndicate as it exists today is an elusive and furtive but nonetheless tangible thing. Its organization and machinations are not always easy to pinpoint. . . . However, by patient digging and by putting together little pieces of a huge and widely scattered puzzle, the picture emerges . . . . Behind the local mobs which make up the national crime syndicate is a shadowy, international criminal organization known as the Mafia, so fantastic that most Americans find it hard to believe it really exists.

Now, apart from the bizarre nature of its content, one of the most remarkable facts about this quite categorical statement, which occurs in the first chapter of Kelauver's book, is that the evidence necessary to substantiate it is never produced. Indeed Daniel Bell in his The End of Ideology comments as follows:

Unfortunately for a good story--and the existence of the Mafia would be a whale of a story-- neither the Senate Crime Committee in its testimony, nor Kefauver in his book, presented any real evidence that the Mafia exists as a functioning organization. One finds public officials asserting before the Kefauver committee their belief in the Mafia; the Narcotic Bureau thinks that a world-wide dope ring allegedly run by Luciano is part of the Mafia: but the only other "evidence" presented--aside from the incredulous responses both of Senator Kefauver and Rudolph Halley when nearly all the Italian gangsters asserted that they didn't know about the Mafia--is that certain crimes beer "the earmarks of the Mafia." (Author's italics.)

Others have been equally skeptical. Thus, Burton B. Turkus, in Murder Incorporated, writing at the time when the Senate Crime Investigating Committee was publishing its findings, said:

If one such unit had all crime in this country under its power, is it not reasonable to assume that somewhere along the line, some law agency--federal, state, county or municipal-- would have tripped it up long before this? No single man or group ever was so clever, so completely genius, as to foil all of them forever . . . . In fact, as a factor of power in national crime, Mafia has been virtually extinct for two decades.

Gus Tyler, editor of Organized Crime in America, prefaces the section devoted to the Mafia with an essay in which he says that the Mafia "whose existence is assumed by some government agencies" is "a still unproven fact." He adds, however, that "while the existence of the Mafia is still legally conjectural, theories of its existence cannot be ignored."

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Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One 15
  • 1 - Where Do I Stand? 17
  • Conservative 21
  • Conclusion 28
  • Socialist 44
  • Notes 46
  • Part Two 57
  • 2 - The Presidency 61
  • Conservative 67
  • Socialist 79
  • Notes 85
  • 3 - The Pentagon 101
  • Conservative 107
  • Socialist 117
  • 4 - The Secret Police 133
  • Conservative 139
  • Socialist 152
  • Notes 160
  • Part Three 167
  • 5 - Elite Clubs and Associations 169
  • Conservative 173
  • Notes 184
  • Notes 192
  • 6 - Multinational Corporations 209
  • Conservative 213
  • Socialist 221
  • Notes 244
  • 7 - Organized Crime 257
  • Conservative 259
  • Socialist 264
  • Part Four 283
  • 8 - Congress 285
  • Conservative 289
  • Socialist 296
  • Notes 303
  • 9 - The Courts 315
  • Conservative 319
  • Socialist 330
  • Notes 337
  • 10 - Regulatory Agencies 347
  • Conservative 349
  • Socialist 361
  • Notes 369
  • Political Parties 385
  • Conservative 387
  • Liberal 396
  • Conclusion 410
  • 12 - Academia 413
  • Conservative 416
  • References 427
  • Notes 434
  • Part Five 449
  • 13 - The Media 451
  • Conservative 453
  • Liberal 467
  • Notes 474
  • 14 - Banks 483
  • Conservative The Great Banking Retreat. 485
  • Socialist 489
  • Notes 497
  • 15 - Unions 511
  • Conservative 513
  • Notes 519
  • A Critical Issue 537
  • 16 - The Economic Crisis 539
  • Conservative 542
  • Socialist 544
  • Notes 550
  • Part Seven 557
  • 17 - Political Programs 567
  • Louis Banks. the Mission Of Our Business Society. 568
  • Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Toward an Initiatory Democracy. 576
  • Stanley Aronowitz. On Organization: A Good Party Is Hard to Find. 581
  • Mass Parties and Reformism 587
  • Notes 596
  • Fred R. Harris. Up With Those Who'Re Down. 602
  • Part Eight 613
  • Appendix 621
  • Note 644
  • Index 649
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