Civil Society Groundwork
To describe how mafiosi condition and provision the society around them, we borrowed Calderone's metaphor of spiders spinning their webs. From an antimafia perspective, the operative metaphor for rendering society more “civil” is “capillary action. ” In an effort to chart such action, the present chapter begins with an overview of the core antimafia values, then examines how antimafia reformers attempt to realize these values in the micro-practices of their own everyday lives.
Calling for democracy and transparency, antimafia reformers broadly embrace what Richard Maddox (n.d.) has called “progressive cosmopolitanism”—a loose set of universalizing values that include gender equality, human rights, and respect for the environment. Among the reformers, women have been visible and vocal participants from the outset, frequently outnumbering men at demonstrations and events. In 1982, women close to the Communist Party joined Giovanna Terranova in the Association of Sicilian Women against the Mafia. Women direct at least four publishing houses in Palermo, including Gelka and the feminist press, La Luna, both of which have printed important antimafia texts. Significantly, feminists brought organizing skills and the social energy of their friendships to meetings over antimafia strategy and tactics, the Committee of the Sheets being a salient example (see Cascio 1989).