The Camorra

The Camorra

The Camorra

The Camorra


Over the last twenty years the Camorra of Naples and the surrounding region has risen to a level of strength which rivals that of the Sicilian mafia. It is not a new organisation: the camorra first emerged in the last century, several decades before the mafia. Tom Behan traces the history of the organization from its inception to the present. Until the 1970s the extent of its influence fluctuated, although it always maitained close relationships with the politiciains of the region. However, since the 1970s new and more powerful forms of camorra have developed: Raffaele Cutola's "mass camorra" of unemployed youth specialise in protection rackets, Lorenzo Nuvoletta's "business camorra" has reinvested drug money into construction following the 1980 earthquake, and Carmine Alfieri's "political camorra" has become extremely profitable through its ability to obtain public sector contracts. The Camorra is a fascinating account of the transformation of the small-time cigarette smugglers of the 1960s to the international entrepreneurs of the 1990s.


No, it was not a paradise on Earth because there were always slum dwellers and poverty.

-Raffaele La Capria

Never perhaps has the reality of modern parliamentary democracy been so accurately exposed as in Italy during the early 1990s: a reality of wall-to-wall corruption.

In less than two years, five ministers and four party leaders were forced to resign due to their alleged illegal activities, and the level of public anger and dissatisfaction was such that all political parties, including some with over a hundred years' history, either split or changed their name and policies. But even that was not enough to placate public anger; in the March 1994 elections the centre parties which had ruled Italy for nearly fifty years all but disappeared.

Even respected commentators, such as one of Italy's premier academics, Ernesto Galli della Loggia, writing in Italy's equivalent of The Times, the Corriere della Sera, reflected:

One case of corruption is one case of corruption, ten cases of corruption are ten cases of corruption, but a hundred cases of corruption is a system of corruption.

Tangentopoli ['bribe city', the name given to the series of scandals which first emerged in Milan in 1992] has revealed this system, which in turn is divided up into a multiplicity of subsystems. The system of written laws had been replaced by a system of implicit regulations, which were nearly always in conflict with the law of the land.

Italian capitalism was and is part of that system. The

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