On the 26th December a shooting in the Berlin borough of Kreuzberg wounded four men. All of them had been victims and perpetrators at the same time. They were allegedly mafia clan members, settling gambling disputes.
Organised crime isn’t exactly a novel phenomena. Only a few weeks ago we saw another spectacular clash between a chechenyan group and an Arab gang. And heated brawls or shootings are not the only trademark of the newcomers. Their trades are gambling, prostitution, drugs, burglary, human trafficking and racketeering. Up and comers are the Arabs, most notably of the Mhallami tribe, but also the Chechens who develop a stronghold in France as well. Additionally we’ve still got our Balkan burglars, the Polish car theft cartels, the Russians, the Italians and so on.
These traditional ‘mafia’ milieus are usually cut out of an extended family, with a patron on the helm. Their behaviour is largely copied by rocker bands, which conceptually form new, composite tribes such as (allegedly) the Hells Angels, the Banderos, the Bandidos and so on. Whether or not a mafia is bound by blood or by codes, they’ve usually got an internal rules system, a code of honour. They also happen to clash with one another and with the states in which they operate.
Nascent ties are formed with the elites. At the moment the most visible anchor is the protection racket the Arab clans have built around the entire commercial hip hop music industry in the country.
There are three lessons to be learnt. 1) They have absolutely no reason whatsoever to change their ways. 2) They operate and follow the logic of tribal cultures which are the only alternative to nation states. 3) They live fast and furious, have a lot of children and take what they get (r-strategy).