For most parts of the twentieth century to the present, the populace of Boston continues to be scared and terrified by the fierce and often gruesome bloodbath that are undertaken on the streets of city among the various gangs of the city, particularly Irish American groups, often referred to as the Irish mobs. Irish mob violence has become integrally linked to the history of Boston. Recently, a lot of books and studies and marked revelations of untold stories have brought the issue prominently back into public attention. However, what remains the crux of the matter is that the issue is far from resolved and Boston is far from safe.
There are certain names that the very mentions of Irish mob in Boston immediately throw up: names like Whitey Bulger, Steve Nemii, and Alex Rocco. Although they were some of the key figures, yet they were not the only people involved in the terrible Irish mob wars that have haunted Boston for decades. Boston gang war has always been a complex web of related parties trying to take hold of loansharking, banking, drug dealing, prostitution and other aspects of organized crime in this industrial city, complicated by the dubious involvement of the FBI. Through books (like the Black Mass) and films (like Departed) referring to a many of these aspects, these dealings have taken a near romantic dimension in the popular imagination: with betrayals, double-crosses, passion and typical Irish ‘gift of the gab’ well in display. Similarly, the careers of some of the leading personalities like Whitey Bulger will be seen as an organic development from within the core progress of Irish mob activity and not isolated cases of criminal ingenuity. The argument will start with an attempt to understand th phenomenon of organized crime, what causes it - and then try to understand the phenomenon of Irish mob war in Boston from within that theoretical premise.
Organized Crime: Why and How
Organized crime is as old as human civilization itself. From the pirates who terrorized the important trade routes of the previous days, to the highwaymen who haunted the lonely, nocturnal highways, organized crime has a history that is as old, as eventful, as significant and probably in certain ways more interesting than mainstream chronological history. The question of organized crime is integrally linked to the question of nation-building and the advocacy of nation-states. Saint Augustine, for example, thought that nation-states were basically guided by the idea of theft, or kleptocracy. Even if we endorse the enlightenment rhetoric and give an alternative definition to the concept of 'nation-states', organized crime necessarily still constitutes the existence of sub-nations within nations. The fierce clannishness exhibited in most organized crimes makes it clear that the phenomenon has a strong social implication. Very often organized crime works as minor groups within the national security system and flaunts an alternative ideology. Fiercely partisional in ideology and disruptive in nature: these crime groups often affect the economy of a nation in significant ways. A common phenomenon that is observed when it comes to organized criminal groups is the way it is more popular among immigrant groups, which is clearly visible with its distrust in the police and the national security system. The fact that most criminal groups in fact attract some degree of support from its local community also warrant the fact that at least to some limited extent, organized gangs and criminal groups represent some kind of mob and widespread dissent that give their ostensible violence some kind of twisted justification.