1. stingrae

    stingrae Member

    May 8, 2017
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    Mafia ranks

    Discussion in 'Research' started by stingrae, Jul 12, 2017.

    I was thinking of writing a story about the various mafias. I want to sketch a brief outline before I dive in, and to do that I wanted to know the ranking systems of the mobs, particularly the Irish and Italian (and others, but the only other mob I can think of would be the Russians... did the Polish ever have one?)

    I'm sure their terminology is different and I would appreciate it if anyone knows anything that could help.
  2. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

    Mar 6, 2016
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    The novel The Godfather described this hierrarchy very well. Mario Puzo really did his homework on this. In the Italian Cosa Nostra, there was the Don at the top, who gave orders (sometimes through a second party such as an adviser) to the Caporegimes, or captains, who in turn gave orders to an underling, who may have drafted still others to do the actual dirty work. The idea was to insulate the guys at the top from the actual business at hand by means of a complicated chain. If there was trouble, one link in the chain would be made to disappear, making it impossible for the crime to be traced to the top.

    As far as I know, the Irish gangs of New York didn't have that level of organization, at least at first. But I'm sure they saw the value of the system and adopted it by and by.

    The novel is a good read anyway (except for the gynecological stuff). I remember reading that when the Russian Mafia got started after the collapse of the Soviet Union, they used The Godfather for a template for their own organizations.
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Aug 1, 2016
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    East devon/somerset border
    Everyone has organised crime ... the triad tongs are another good example

    Another good fiction book is Gangster by Lorenzo Carcatera (or Paradise City by the same author)
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

    Jan 8, 2017
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    Rhode Island
    For the Italian Mob the ranks go boss, under boss (or street boss), consigliere. capo-regime (captain), soldier, and associate (of which there are several levels)...

    Often times the boss is in prison (imagine that), which is where the term "street boss" comes from. Also because depending on the family setup, there may an under boss who is not on the street collecting money. The capos each run a crew of soldiers and associates, each of them kicking up to the boss, who then kicks down to his consigliere, who is a confidant/advisor on the same level as the captains (or sometimes above) but is also not on the street earning his money directly.

    It's a little fucked up now. The mob where I come from has been a joke since the old man Patriarca died and his idiot son took over. And graft and union corruption is harder than ever... the RICO statutes essentially put an end to that. There's still a national commission that approves new bosses and high level hits, but I'm not sure how prevalent they are since the hey day of the New York five families (Genovese, Bonnano, Gambino, Columbo, and Luchese).
  5. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

    Jul 8, 2017
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    the three main organizations traditionally are
    -- Camorra or Mano Nera (Naples)
    -- Ndrangheta (Calabria)
    -- Mafia (Sicily)

    the Ndrangheta version of the history using a canta storia or a Storytelling song

    lesser known but still quite powerful we have the
    -- Sacra Corona Unita (Puglia) and
    -- Unione Corse (Corsica)

    Capo Tutti Capi -- obsolete replaced with the commission, recently it was more of a honorary figure head title ( I guess it sells newspapers)

    Older Cosa Nostra structure (Cosa Nostra is actually the Americanized Version) -- Historically though it was a prison gang out of Favignana off the coastline of Trapani, tracing its roots back to the Garduna out of Spain.
    (the New 5th Mafia emerging or Stidda have adopted portions of this, but is much more amorphous and closer to the old school version of Associazione.)

    Cupola -- The Commission
    Capo Mandamento -- elected by 3-4 Regional Cosca's as their representative in the Cupola

    Cosca - The Family

    Capo Famiglia -- Don
    Consigliere -- Counselor
    Capo Decina -- Capo Regime
    Soldato -- Soldier
    Picciotto -- Associate

    Ndrangheta -- the structure here is fairly new in terms of the organizations history.

    Crimine --- similar to the commission but not as intrusive
    Capo Crimine -- elected to head the Crimine
    Mastro di Giornata -- Spokesperson for the
    Generale - the general
    Capo Società -- Boss of a Society
    Contabile -- the accountant
    Capo Locale -- the local boss aka capo bastone

    ndrina -- similar to a Cosca but more of a blood lineage association than region/town
    Trequartino or Quintino -- the Padrino/Godfather /Don
    Vangelista -- kind of like a capo regime
    Santista -- Soldier who is a member of the Mamma Santissima inner working group

    Società Minore
    Sgarrista -- soldier
    Camorrista -- kind of like a bag man
    Picciotto d'onore -- lowest entry position
    Giovane d'onore -- youth usually related by blood to the boss


    This should be good enough to get you started in your research.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
    Iain Aschendale likes this.

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