The fall of the Roman Empire

Una comida entre un grupo de empresarios mafiosos y los políticos que financiaban. Ahora están todos en la carcel.

Since the first days of december, when a police operation in Rome led to the arrest of 37 people linked in different forms to the City Council, our vision of the social phenomena and problems that affect this city changed deeply. The criminal network based on the allocation of public contracts that had been drawn on the Italian capital, linked  together public employees, politicians from all the political spectrum, left-wing social cooperatives, neo-fascist groups, journalists, and the infamous mafia clan known as the “banda della Magliana“. Apart from drugs and weapons, what brought the biggest profits to this “Mafia Capitale” were social emergencies: gypsy camps, migrant centers, housing emergencies, waste management. In reading the tappings that led to the arrests we suddenly understand the banality, vulgarity and simplicity of evil, bringing us to invalidate many of our postmodern explanations on the complexity of social unease in the peripheries. For once, the situation seem to be much simpler, although delirious. An intertwined institutional and criminal network was manipulating many aspects of the local and national politics, for the benefit of a few on the suffering of many, consuming the public funds allocated to ‘receive’ and segregate the same people against whom they organized demonstrations and protests.

Social housing in Tor Sapienza during the riots in november.
  • Tor Sapienza. Many scholars tried to understand the causes of an aggression in november against a migrant center in this neighborhood in Eastern Rome, as well as of the growth of racism in the peripheries. But it seems that behind this episode there is the will of a cooperative now appointed as the center of this criminal network, to take away a number of migrants to another cooperative, fostering racism to move the boys (and the money) to a center controlled by them.
  • The business of the gypsy camps. Since 2000s the left-wing Mayor turned into a system the de facto segregation of gypsies, forcing them into a housing circuit that was based on camps and therefore separate from the circuit of housing for non-gypsies. Now the camps have been prohibited by a EU decree; finally somebody is paying attention to the countless denounces of the monopoly that some cooperatives had over funding for the camps (some were left-wing, other catholic, other even right-wing), and of their interest in maintaining the gypsies in this state of emergency and precariousness.
  • The centers for migrants. The politicians that promoted welcoming policies for immigration received thousands of euros per month from the cooperatives; in exchange these cooperatives received more and more migrants, that they kept as long as they could in their centers, alike in Rome as in Southern Italy. These two texts from NapoliMonitor deal with this issue in two different ways: Michele COLUCCI (2014), “Tutta colpa dei banditi?“, explains the historical processes that brought to the mafia control of the funding for welfare; Stefano PORTELLI (2014), “Los centros del triángulo [spanish in the OACU blog], describes the neocolonial contradictions that legitimate the segregation of newcomers in camps, most managed by the cooperatives embroiled in the “Mafia Capitale” affair.