Skip to content

Makes sense to me

12 June 2011

I’ve been bemused, amused and appalled by the attempts to define Mexican gangsters as something other than just gangsters.

“Cartel” has been the most popular term, although a cartel, properly speaking, refers to groups that collude with each other, not guys engaged in cut-throat (and head) competiton for the same market. There’s some support (among U.S. right-wing politicos) for “terrorist”, but — having realized that U.S. law strongly sanctions those who “aid and abet terrorists”, which would include the gun dealers who include the “cartels” among their best customers, that idea has sunk.

A few ridiculous bloggers, seeking to sound important, use the bureaucratic terms DTO (Drug Trafficking Organization) or TCO (Transnational Criminal Organization) more out of a sense that by using the mil-speak, they’re saying something more important than they are, or that they have access to some special information the rest of us lack.

I finally, though, ran across a term that works very well, and, more importantly, defines gangsters within a broader economic and social context:

Violent entrepreneurs are mostly private groups that create “a set of organizational solutions and action strategies enabling organized force (or organized violence) to be converted into money or other valuable assets on a permanent basis….Violent entrepreneurship is a means of increasing the private income of the wielders of force through ongoing relations of exchange with other groups that own other resources.”

The phrase itself was coined by Vadim Volkov, an Associate Professor of Sociology at The European University at St. Petersburg, and was the title of his study of Russian “business” organizations (criminal groups, private security services, private protection companies, and informal protective agencies associated with the state) in the 1990s.

Besides being applicable to Mexican marijuana and poppy exporters (and meth manufacturers), as businesses, and nicely encapsulating exactly what it is that Cartels … er… DTOs … er… TCOs… do… it seems to cover those organzations that are in the repression biz and should be — in a just world — treated the same way:  Canadian mining firms that kill Salvadorian environmentalists and Peruvian Indians, Honduran palm-oil planters that sic private “security guards” on local farmers, private prison firms that invest in criminalizing immigrants …

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fatmex permalink
    13 June 2011 4:27 pm

    Here, here! The last part, “Canadian mining firms that kill Salvadorian environmentalists and Peruvian Indians, Honduran palm-oil planters that sic private “security guards” on local farmers, private prison firms that invest in criminalizing immigrants …” is usually just overlooked and ignored by the powers that be because those are ‘legitimate’ and proper entrepreneurs and sanctioned by the ‘appropriate’ sanctioning body (IE government) which sounds more important than it is. It’s all about the “mordida” in the end.

    Right on as usual, Richard.

  2. 13 June 2011 4:52 pm

    I think this is a matter of perspective, I agree that calling cartels “gangs” is very inaccurate, thse are criminal organizations, but the root of it all starts with corrupted politicians, I am convinced that if they really and truly wanted to get rid of them, the government would be able to accomplish it, but I doubt theqy really want to do that, its too much money, For the sake of mexican families, I honestly hope they do get rid of ll em cartels, its only a matter of really wnating to do it.

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: