Despite the bloody and violent history of the Mafia, their strong structure or organization can be used for a model for many other types of groups, clubs, packs, etc.
[also known as capofamiglia, capo crimini, representante, Don or godfather], The undisputed leader of the crime family. He makes all the important decisions, much like a CEO of a company would. They are greatly respected and widely feared by their subordinates. All of the men in his outfit pay him a tribute, so he is also usually an extremely wealthy man.
or capo bastone, is second-in-command in the hierarchy of the Mafia crime family. His level of authority varies from family to family, but he is ready to stand in for the boss at any given moment. Could be a family member, such as a son being groomed to one day take over the business.
known as an advisor or “right-hand man,” a consigliere is a counselor to the boss of a crime family. The boss, underboss, and consigliere constitute the “Administration.” The consigliere is meant to offer unbiased information based on what he sees as best for the family. He’s not supposed to factor emotional concerns, such as retaliation and blood feuds, into his decisions. Unlike the underboss (see below), the consigliere is not required to be a direct relative of the boss.
was originally known as a “capodecina” (captain of ten) because he oversaw only 10 soldiers. In more recent times, the caporegime may oversee as many soldiers as he can efficiently control. A caporegime is appointed by the family boss to run his own borgata (regime, or crew) of soldato (soldiers). Each caporegime reports directly to the underboss, who gives him the permission to perform criminal activities. If the family needs to murder someone, the underboss normally asks a caporegime to carry out the order.
Also known as a sgarrista, soldier, “button man,” “made man”, “wiseguy” or “goodfella”. This is the lowest level of mobster or gangster. A “soldier” must have taken the omertà (oath of silence), and in some organizations must have killed a person in order to be considered “made.” A picciotto is a low-level soldier, usually someone who does the day-to-day work of threatening, beating, and intimidating others.
not actual members of the Mafia but rather anyone who teams up with them on a criminal enterprise of some kind. They could be someone who does business with the mob, including money-laundering bankers, crooked cops, lawyers, politicians, drug dealers, etc.
In order to be invited into the American Mafia and become a member one must perform a series of tasks, such as committing murder for the family and not for one’s own personal benefit. When the boss decides to let a member into the family one will be part of a ceremony, involving the drawing of blood, swearing an oath over a gun or holy picture, and obeying the rules of the organization. In New York City, the Mafia created customs and traditions which the members have to follow. If one breaks any of the rules they can be killed by another member of the family and usually the murder is committed by the people closest to that person.
- “Omertà” – is the oath or “code of silence”, never talk to the authorities.
- “Ethnicity” – only men of Italian descent are allowed to become full members (made men). Associates, partners, allies etc. have no ethnic limits.
- “Family secrets” – members are not allowed to talk about family business to non-members.
- “Blood for blood” – if a family member is killed (by another member) no one can commit murder (in revenge) until the boss gives permission.
- “No fighting among members” – from fist fights to knife fights.
- “Tribute” – every month; members must pay the boss; also giving the boss a cut on any side deals.
- “Adultery” – members are not allowed to commit adultery with another family member’s wife.
- “No facial hair” – members were not allowed to grow mustaches; part of the Mustache Pete way.