WATCH: Brilliant video lays bare mafia power

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Patrick Browne - [email protected]
WATCH: Brilliant video lays bare mafia power
Italian comedian Andrea De Marco in his satirical video, 'Ndrangheta Today. Screengrab: YouTube

A scathing new video is winning plaudits for showing the global power of the Calabrian mafia, the ‘Ndrangheta - a group that makes more money than McDonald's and Deutsche Bank combined.


The video below sheds light on what has become the most powerful mafia organization in the world, and was created by comedian Andrea De Marco.

“The idea began as an idea I had for a piece of stand up,” he told The Local.

“But I decided that the piece would be more effective in the form of a video advert.”

The fake advert, which leading daily La Repubblica describes as "irresistible", highlights the influence and reach of ‘Ndrangheta, which has its stronghold in Calabria.

De Marco scripted the video in English so as to highlight the international face of organized crime.

“I wanted to emphasise the fact that ‘Ndrangheta is a global financial organization,” he said.

The group rakes in the cash through an eclectic mix of businesses, from drug trafficking and prostitution to extortion and arms sales.

A study by the Rome-based Demoskopika research institute last year claimed the organization made a staggering turnover of €53 billion in 2013.

To put that into another context, that was more than the combined turnovers that year of McDonald's and Deutsche Bank. 

“For us Italians, sadly it’s normal that the mafia exists ” explained the comic.

"But lots of foreigners have a stereotypical view of the mafia that comes from films like The Godfather.”

The reality is very different, he added, and the video highlights that ‘Ndrangheta are not rustic gangsters but a modern class of super criminals that are heavily involved with industry and politics.

While much of its money comes from activities that would be viewed as more ‘typical’ mafia territory, the organization is also involved in areas like waste disposal and rigging public contracts – stories that scandalize Italy every day, and make life miserable for millions of Italians.

Part of ‘Ndrangheta’s success is down to the fact that it has never come to blows with the Italian state in the same way that other mafia groups have.

During the 1990s, the Sicilian mafia (Cosa Nostra) was involved in a mafia war with the Italian state that culminated with trial of 460 of its members in Palermo and did much to dent the organization's influence in Italy.

Meanwhile, ‘Ndrangheta has managed to avoid such crackdowns due to their highly secretive nature. Membership to the organization is only open to blood relatives of other members and a high number of its members have taken public office, which makes infiltration and prosecution harder.

Given the gravity of the situation, is humour really the best way to fight against such a serious problem?

“Humour is one of the best ways,” insisted De Marco: “When we laugh at something it’s often food for thought – then we can ask ourselves: ‘Why am I laughing at this?’ ”

The comic explained that he hoped to produce more videos on the mafia, looking at how other elements of organized crime work.

He also wants to bring his unique and eye-opening brand of humor to some of Italy’s different mafia clans like Cosa Nostra, Camorra in Naples and Santa Corona Unita in Puglia.

But is he not worried about repercussions?

“I don’t worry," he said. "And besides, the video isn’t against ‘Ndrangheta, it’s against the aspects of ourselves that allow such an organization to function.”  


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