Addiopizzo

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Addiopizzo logo

Addiopizzo (English: "Goodbye Pizzo") is a grassroots movement established to build a community of businesses and consumers who refuse to pay "pizzo" – Mafia extortion money.[1][2] It is a grassroots social-conscience motivated consumer movement analogous to Fair Trade. The group, led by a generation whose adolescence was characterized by the murders of anti-Mafia judges, journalists and businessmen, operates in the Palermo and Catania metropolitan area, traditionally a Mafia stronghold.[3]

History[edit]

In 2004, Addiopizzo began by five graduates who wanted to open a bar in Palermo. Realising they would be asked to pay a Mafia tithe, they decided instead to organise against the pizzo.[4] Frustrated with the Mafia's stranglehold on the local economy and political life, they peppered the city with stickers that were designed to mimic the look of obituary notices and that read: "A whole people who pays the pizzo is a people without dignity."[5] They organize demonstrations wearing black T-shirts with the Addiopizzo logo, a broken circle with an X in the middle and the words "consumo critico" (critical consumption)."[6]

In 2007, the association counted 210 traders and entrepreneurs as members and over 9,000 consumers committed to buy only at shops belonging to the "pizzo-free" list.[7] Palermo police and the prefect have agreed to discreetly look after the member shops. "Addiopizzo" organized programs in more than 90 schools and educational institutes, with the participation of prosecutors and police. In May 2006 they organized a "pizzo-free" festival in one of Palermo's main squares.[8] Addiopizzo made headlines around the world when it launched a pizzo-free supermarket Punto Pizzofree in Palermo, which opened in March 2008.[9]

The Mafia extorts more than 160 million euro a year from shops and businesses in the Palermo region, with the island as a whole paying 10 times that figure, investigators estimate.[1] Around 80 per cent of Sicilian businesses pay a pizzo.[10] According to Palermo University, the pizzo averages 457 euros (640 dollars) a month for retail traders and 578 for hotels and restaurants, but construction companies are asked to pay over 2,000 euros per month according to economic daily Il Sole 24 Ore's figures.[2]

One of the first to refuse to pay protection money was Libero Grassi, a businessman from Palermo. In January 1991, he wrote an open letter to the Giornale di Sicilia, the local newspaper. Published on the front page, it was addressed to an anonymous "Dear Extortionist". It caused an uproar, and barely six months later on August 29th, 1991, Grassi was dead.[11]

In 2006, Addiopizzo Catania was founded, with aims similar to those of Addiopizzo Palermo.[12] Addiopizzo Catania works to fight against the Mafia by discouraging shop owners from paying pizzo, educating people, and challenging cultural norms. On 30 October 2012 a delegation of the European Parliament's Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption, and Money Laundering (CRIM) invited Addiopizzo Catania to submit a report of its activities, in order to underline the importance of international cooperation against organized crime.[13]

Example[edit]

Addiopizzo served as an example for Mafia? Nein danke!, an anti-Mafia movement in Germany, established after the Duisburg massacre in August 2007, when, in front of an Italian restaurant six people were killed in a blood feud between 'Ndrangheta families.[14]

Addiopizzo Travel[edit]

Addiopizzo Travel is a project of Addiopizzo that focuses on raising awareness amongst the many holidaymakers that travel to Sicily every year by helping travellers with finding "pizzo-free" hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. In addition they run anti-mafia tours for schools, universities, and other interested parties.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mafia-free supermarket defies mob extortion, The Daily Telegraph, March 8, 2008
  2. ^ a b To the Mafia's horror, pizzo-free shop opens Palermo doors, AFP, March 8, 2008
  3. ^ Sicilians grow defiant of Mafia, BBC News, April 11, 2008
  4. ^ We won't pay you protection, traders tell Mafia, The Daily Telegraph, April 28, 2006
  5. ^ Gross, David M. (2014). 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns. Picket Line Press. pp. 190–91. ISBN 978-1490572741. 
  6. ^ One Hundred Defiant Shopkeepers Say "We Don’t Pay Protection Money", Corriere della Sera, May 5, 2006
  7. ^ Gross, David M. (2014). 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns. Picket Line Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-1490572741. 
  8. ^ Sicilian Mafia Reeling from Police and Business Actions, US Embassy Cable, December 6, 2007
  9. ^ Shopkeepers revolt against Sicilian Mafia, The Observer, March 9, 2008
  10. ^ Italy's biggest business: the Mafia, The Daily Telegraph, October 24, 2007
  11. ^ A Bullet For a Businessman, Business Week, November 4, 1991
  12. ^ Addiopizzo Catania
  13. ^ Report on the activity of "Addiopizzo Catania", by Addiopizzo Catania to the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering (CRIM), October 30, 2012
  14. ^ The story of Mafia? Nein danke!, Laura Garavini website
  15. ^ Addiopizzo Travel

External links[edit]