Originally Posted By: BloodlettersandBadmen
Dear Friend,

This is the problem with "underworld" history. Its very nature is secretive. These guys do not keep diaries or do interviews with 60 minutes.

As to your comments about the Commission, this is simply inaccurate by most accounts from historical researchers. Historian Carl Sifakis in his volume "The Mafia Encyclopedia" notes,

"Confusion is a result of the fact that there are really two commissions...[Source here is Joseph Bonanno] he speaks only of the commission as a unit representing the five New York families, with a representative from Chicago and at various times from a few additional cities such as Buffalo, Detroit and Philadelphia." p. 114

The larger group also referred to as the Commission or Syndicate was that formed by the non-Sicilian Charles Luciano and his Jewish friends Meyer Lansky and Ben Siegel. This group was "national". And had representatives from every major city in the US. It included such notable mobsters like Dutch Schultz, Abner "Longy" Zwillman, Moe Dalitz, and others.

It was this group which consolidated power and was dreamed of by Johnny Torrio and Charlie Luciano.

It was this group which had Dutch Schultz killed for disobeying a decision of the Board with respect to Thomas E. Dewey. And by the way, Schultz was, at the time, the most powerful mobster in the city.

During the 1950's a power shift took place. Jewish gangs were on the decline. The Irish were already gone. So Italians began dominating both the five families and the national commission i.e. the Syndicate.

It is interesting to note that I said "Italians" and not Sicilians. Sicilians were Mafioso. Those from the mainland were not. In fact, a bitter rivalry existed between the two. The latter may or may not have been "Camorra."

By the time the 1970's rolled around, most of the five families were no longer Mafia in the traditional sense (the way Joseph Bonanno would have defined it.)

Further, the term Cosa Nostra (our thing) was first used by Salvatore Maranzano to represent the five families which he established. It was not used by any other city.

As to the Castellammarese War, I have books from various researchers who give dates as early as 1928 (before the shooting started). They maintain that the way started in late 1928!

I guess I could go on and on.

G. Marshall Johnson



I always have this convo with people. Sicilians are Italians. So many people think that Sicilians are so much different but they are italian. Sicily is part of Italy. Just not part of the mainland. Now Sicilians and northern Italians were very different but Sicilians and calabrese and maybe some other southern italian regions were very much the same in my analysis. Whether you're sicilian, neapolitan, calabrese or whatever you're italian to me. It'd be like saying I'm a Floridian not an American. But I would agree that there were many differences between southern Italians and northern Italians. Always irked me when I heard someone say "I'm sicilian not italian". And most of my grandparents came from Sicily too.

Last edited by Revis_Island; 05/09/14 06:30 AM.