The American Mafia has most certainly declined in power and size over the past half century. Where years ago they controlled numerous rackets including prostitution, labor unions, and most importantly gambling, the mafia now holds little muscle in any of these areas. This is mainly due to three reasons, as Peter Reuter would describe; federal involvement in organized crime, ethnic change within cities, and failure to control the lucrative trade and trafficking of drugs. The last of these catalysts for downfall is clearly shown in the film The Godfather and throughout the famed trilogy.
In the movie, the boss of the Corleone family, Don Vito Corleone, holds a meeting with an up-and-coming drug lord known as The Turk. He listens to his proposition of controlling the drug trade in New York, but ultimately declines, because, as he states, “…drugs are a dirty business.” This refusal of the Turk’s deal, in the end, causes an entire war between the families, and the near killing of the Don.
It was strictly forbidden by members of La Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian-based fraternal mafia organization, to take part in drugs, but it was a market which they should have taken hold of. Drug trafficking today accounts for almost half of illegal markets in cities and throughout the country. It has become the modern version of bootleg liquor during Prohibition. The failure of Italian Mafiosi to control the drug market has had an enormous impact on the power structure of the mob. They were left helpless as numerous other ethnicities, such as the Black Mafia, Asian gangs, and the Russian mob took control of this highly profitable racket. As the character Tom Hagen stated ever so prudently in the film, “drugs are the future, and if we don’t get into it now…it will hurt us, maybe not now, but ten years from now.”
tagged decline mafia power by pra ...on 07-APR-06