In Palermo, Italy, there are two overlapping groups collecting taxes — above-ground are the formal Italian governments, and underground is the Mafia. Until recently, almost all businesses, large and small, paid both the “pizzo” — protection money — to the Mafia and taxes to the formal government.
But over the past five years, a group calling itself AddioPizzo has organized an unprecedentely coordinated and successful tax resistance movement against the pizzo. It includes a network of businesses who have pledged to resist the pizzo, a pizzo-free “brand” that these businesses can use to advertise their stance, and a group of consumers who have pledged to shop only at pizzo-free businesses.
One of the campaign’s organizers had this to say:
Why did we focus on the pizzo, rather than drugs, weapons or shady deals? Becuase we immediately realized that the pizzo was a tool the Mafia used to create a culture that accepts their control of territory. If you take that away, everything else the Mafia does will collapse.
Anyone know where I can get an AddioPizzo t-shirt?