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How to make sense of conspiracy theories

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#41 status - Shadows on the Wall

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 06:47 PM

Re-examining the Mafia, Alien, and Conspiracy Mystique

Dwight Smith: The Mafia and Conspiracy

Mr Smith’s talk explored how the idea of the mafia and conspiracy emerged in America, developed and became entangled in very different contexts. Mr Smith describes the ideas, experiences, and events through which his book, ‘The Mafia Mystique’ (1975), took shape; the consequences of those events that have led to contemporary public understanding and use of ‘Mafia’ in the United States; and the consequences in a democracy of strategies that were developed for organized crime control.

Redefining organised crime.

http://federicovares...ed Crime 03.pdf

Organized Crime In The United States, 1865-1941

Author: Kristofer Allerfeldt
Publisher: Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2018. 300p.
Reviewer: Frederick T. Martens

It is his iconoclastic approach that obligates the reader to expend considerable energy, deliberative patience, and intellectual capital in order to sift through, capture and ultimately digest Allerfeldt’s interpretations of history. Simple, conventional explanations can not appropriately or accurately untangle the Machiavellian plots and political machinations that governed during this historical period—1865-1941—at least according to Allerfeldt. His command of American history so far as it involves the underbelly of society is quite exhaustive. Whether he is explaining the “Capone Era,” “Chicago’s Dry Cleaning Racket,” the “Castellammarese War,” “The Sicilian Vespers,” or “Organized Crime Fighters,” there certainly is a sense that he has sought to expose the “devil” by relentlessly pursuing “the detail.”

Although Allerfeldt’s audience seems to be primarily criminologists, the story that he weaves is equally-suited for aspiring political scientists and economists who often ignore or are ambivalent about recognizing the critical role played by the underground’s political economy. The linkage “between vice and party politics was [and is] central. The money from one financed the other” (p. 62).

What Allerfeldt uncovers from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s remains relevant today. Most organized crime is local (See, e.g., Chambliss, 1988; Potter, 1994; Bumsted, 2013; Mele, 2017). Mafia or Cosa Nostra for the most part are atypical forms of organized crime here in the United States; but with one caveat to keep in mind — atypical does not mean irrelevant.

As Allerfeldt points out, organized crime and perceptions thereof are not static, but are “fluid and changeable” (p. 18). Organized crime can and does mature over long periods of time, making it perhaps indistinguishable from its earlier antecedents. By the time he ends his research in 1943, Cosa Nostra was emerging as a credible threat to the body politic of many urban centers, particularly in the Northeast, parts of the mid-west, and into southern and western parts of the United States.

There is little doubt that by the 1950’s and 1960’s, Cosa Nostra played a pivotal role in the organization of crime in certain sectors of the country (See, e.g., Lilley, 1967; Porambo, 1971; Cressey,1969; Salerno, 1969; Reuter, 1982; Haller, 1991; Jacobs, 1999). It had taken control of some labor unions that had the ability to shut down the country’s transportation infrastructure; infiltrated several hospitality and service industries; and maintained alliances with critical construction trade unions (See, e.g., Brill, 1978; Knoedelseder, 1993; Jacobs, 2007). But most importantly, Cosa Nostra had insinuated itself into the highest levels of the federal government, principally the Central Intelligence Agency, providing resources in an effort to topple “leftist” regimes in South and Central America (Kessler, 1999).


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#42 status - Power Brokers

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Posted 05 August 2018 - 07:00 PM

Dwight does touch on ethnic profiling. Gathering data to profile names with an overload of vowels.


Also, regarding conflicts...

Did prohibition cause an effect of less respect towards law enforcement in general? I'm thinking this law was very difficult to enforce. Causing great stress in public perceptions towards one another. Allowing for much, much more criminal behavior...on all sides. Transcontinental Underground Railroads.


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