A Neo-Marxist Explanation of Organized Crime

Abstract

This essay examines the relationship between criminal organizations and socioeconomic elites. The argument is made that criminal organizations acquire ideological preferences as they evolve and integrate into elite structures. This article demonstrates the conditions under which elites turn to Fascist parties, reactionary militaries, or organized crime groups for assistance against counter-hegemonic groups. This analysis is based on Marxist, Frankfurt School, and Gramscian concepts, and is augmented by examples of alliances between elites and crime groups from Europe, Latin America, and Asia.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Abadinsky, H. (1985). Organized Crime. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Adorno, T.W. (1990). Reflexionen zur Klassentheorie. In Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 8. Frankfurt a. M., FRG: Suhrkamp, pp. 377–391.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Alexander, H.E. (1985). Organized crime and politics. In H.E. Alexander andG.E. Caiden (eds.), The Politics and Economics of Organized Crime. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, pp. 89–98.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Amboss, K. (1994). Drogenkrieg in den Anden. Munich: AG-SPAK.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Andreas, P. (1993). Profits, Poverty and Illegality: The Logic of Drug Corruption. NACLA Report on the Americas XXVII(3), 22–28.

  6. Block, A.A. (1986). A Modern Marriage of Convenience: Collaboration between Organized Crime and US Intelligence. In R.J. Kelly (ed.), Organized Crime: A Global Perspective (pp. 58–77). Totowa, NJ.: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Block, A.A. andChambliss, W. (1981). Organizing Crime. New York: Elsevier.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Blok, A. (1988). The Mafia of a Sicilian Village: A Study of Violent Peasant Entrepreneurs. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Booth, M. (1993). Opium: A History. New York: St. Martin's Griffin.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Brecht, B. (1965). Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui. Berlin: Suhrkamp.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Broszat, M. (1981). The Hitler State. New York: Longman.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Browder, G.C. (1990). Foundations of the Nazi Police State. Lexington: The University of Kentucky Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Buci-Glucksmann, C. (1980). Gramsci and the State. London: Lawrence & Wishart.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Cambio 16 (Colombia) (1996). Apoyaremos las autodefensas, pp. 184–185; 14–15.

  15. Castillo, F. (1991). La coca nostra. Bogotá: Editorial Documentos Periodicos.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Cockburn, C. (1998). An Interview with Al Capone, Chicago, 1930. In J.E. Lewis (ed.), The Mammoth Book of How it Happened: Eye-Witness Accounts of Great Historical Moments. London: Robinson, pp. 372–374.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Colombia Alert (1997). 1, pp. 1–3.

  18. Collett, M. (1989). El fantasma de la narco-guerrilla. Nueva Sociedad. 102 Caracas, Venezuela, pp. 125–127.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Dagron, A.G. (1982). La mascara del gorila. México City: Editorial Oasis.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Elias, R. (1991). Drug Wars as Victimization and Social Control. New Political Science 20, 41–61.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Femia, J. (1981). Gramsci's Political Thought: Hegemony, Consciousness and the Revolutionary Process. London: Clarendon.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Fontana, B. (1993). Hegemony and Power. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Freiberg, K, andThamm, B.G. (1992). Das Mafia-Syndrom. Hilden, FRG: VDP.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Gramsci, A. (1971). Selections from the Prison Notebooks. In Q. Hoare andG.N. Smith (eds.). New York: International Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Gosch, M.A. andHammer, R. (1975). The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano. New York: Dell Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Hargreaves, C. (1993). Bitterer Schnee. Munich: Beck.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Hess, H. (1970). Mafia: Zentrale Herrschaft und Lokale Gegenmacht. Tübingen, FRG: Mohr.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Hess, H. (1986). The Traditional Sicilian Mafia: Organized Crime and Repressive Crime. In Kelly 1986, pp. 113–133.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Horkheimer, M. (1982). The End of Reason. In A. Arato andE. Gebhardt (eds.), The Essential Frankfurt School Reader. New York: Continuum, pp. 26–48.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Horkheimer, M. (1985a). Die Rackets und der Geist. In Gunzelin Schmid Noerr (ed.), Gesammelte Werke, Vol. 12. Frankfurt a.M., FRG: Fischer, pp. 287–291.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Horkheimer, M. (1985b). Zur Soziologie der Klassenverhältnisse. Gesammelte Werke, 12: 75–104.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Horkheimer, M. (1985c). Theorie des Verbrechers. Gesammelte Werke, 12: 266–277.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Horkheimer, M. (1985d). Editorische Vorbemerkung. Gesammelte Werke, 12: 250–251.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Isaacs, H. (1962). The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Jennings, J. (1997). The Opium Empire: Japanese Imperialism and Drug Trafficking in Asia 1895–1945. Westport, NY: Praeger.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Kaplan, D.E. andDubro, A. (1986). Yakuza. Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Kawamura, G. (1994). Yakuza. Pfaffenweiler, FRG: Centaurus Verlagsgesellschaft.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Kelly, R.J. (1986). Criminal Underworlds: Looking Down on Society from Below. In Kelly 1986, pp. 10–31.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Kenney, D.J. (1995). Organized Crime in America. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Kühnl, R. (ed.) (1979). Texte zur Faschismusdiskussion, Vol. II. Hamburg, FRG: Rowohlt.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Kühnl, R. (1983). Formen bürgerlicher Herrschaft, Vol. I. Hamburg: Rowohlt.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Von Lampe, K. (1999). Organized Crime: Begriff und Theories Organisierter Kriminalität in den USA. Frankfurt a.M.: Lang.

    Google Scholar 

  43. La RepÚblica (Peru) (1992). Identifican a militares corrompidos por narcos. pp. 14–15.

  44. Martin, B.G. (1996). The Shanghai Green Gang. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Marx, C. (1971). El Dieciocho Brumario de Luis Bonaparte. Barcelona, ES: Ariel.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Mayer, H. (1990). Kolumbien: Der Schmutzige Krieg. Hamburg: Rowohlt.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Midlarsky, M. andRoberts, K. (1985). Class, State and Revolution in Central America. Journal of Conflict Resolution 29(2), 163–194.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Mitchell, C.,Stohl, M.,Carleton, D., andLopez, G.A. (1986). State Terrorism: Issues of Concept and Measurement. In M. Stohl andG.A. Lopez (eds.), Government Violence and Repression. New York: Greenwood Press, pp. 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Mommsen, H. (1976). Zur Verschränkung traditioneller und faschistischer Führungsgruppen in Deutschland beim Ñbergang von der Bewegungs-zur System-phase. In Wolfgang Schieder (ed.), Faschismus als soziale Bewegung: Deutschland und Italien im Vergleich. Hamburg: Hoffmann, pp. 157–181.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Naylor, R.T. (1993). The Insurgent Economy: Black Market Operations of Guerilla Organizations. Crime, Law and Social Change 20(1), 13–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Naylor, R.T. (1998). Canadian warns against ‘hysteria’ in war on drugs. The Toronto Star June 11, A15.

  52. Observatoire Géopolitique des Drogues (OGD) (1993). Der Welt-Drogen-Bericht. Annual Report 1993. Munich: DTV.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Oiga (Peru) (1994). El show de Vaticano, pp. 18–22.

  54. Pantaleone, M. (1966). The Mafia and Politics. London: Chatto & Windus.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Pearce, F. (1981). Organized Crime and Class Politics. In David F. Greenberg (ed.), Crime and Capitalism: Readings in Marxist Criminology. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield Publishing, pp. 157–181.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Reyes, A. (1996). Drug trafficking and the Guerrilla movement in Colombia. In B.M. Bagley andW.O. Walker III (eds.), Drug Trafficking in the Americas. Miami, FL: North-South Center Press, pp. 121–130.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Scholl-Latour, P. (1979). Der Tod im Reisfeld: Dreißig Jahre Krieg in Indochina. Stuttgart, FRG: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Schneider, A. andZarate, O. (1994). Mafia for Beginners. Cambridge: Icon Press.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Semana (Colombia) (1996). El madrugón del gobierno 714, pp. 18–21.

  60. Servadio, G. (1976). Mafioso. London: Secker & Warburg.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Shelley, L.I. (1984). Crime in the Soviet Union. In A. Jones,W.D. Connor andD.E. Powell (eds.), Soviet Social Problems. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 252–269.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Stanley, W. (1996). The Protection Racket State: Elite Politics, Military Extortion, and Civil War in El Salvador. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Stepan, A. (1978). The State and Society: Peru in Comparative Perspective. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Stirk, P.M. (1992). Max Horkheimer: A New Interpretation. Hempel Hempstead, Herfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Strange, S. (1996). The Retreat of the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Strong, S. (1996). Whitewash: Pablo Escobar and the Cocaine Wars. London: Panbooks.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Thamm, B.G. (1996). Drachen bedrohen die Welt. Hilden, FRG: VDP.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Tilly, C. (1985). War Making and State Making as Organized Crime. In Peter B. Evans,Dietrich Rueschemeyer andTheda Skocpol (eds.), Bringing the State Back In. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 169–191.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Wagner, P. (1996). Volksgemeinschaft ohne Verbrecher: Konzeptionen und Praxis der Kriminalpolizei in der Zeit der Weimarer Republik und des Nationalsozialismus. Hamburg: Christians Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Weiner, R. (1996). War by Other Means: Colombia's Faceless Courts. NACLA Report on the Americas XXX(2), 31–36.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Wu, T.W. (1976). Chiang Kai-shek's April 12th Coup of 1927. In F.G. Chan andT.H. Etzold (eds.), China in the 1920s. New York: New Viewpoints, pp. 147–159.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schulte-Bockholt, A. A Neo-Marxist Explanation of Organized Crime. Critical Criminology 10, 225–242 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015752506566

Download citation

Keywords

  • Organize Crime
  • Criminal Organization
  • Organize Crime Group
  • Frankfurt School
  • Death Squad