Have you ever wondered about the hierarchy of a real mafia family? How do you become a Made Man? What does it mean to be a made man and what do you have to do? Well so have I. After some research I have the answers! Let’s take a look!

The First Step - A Made Man

“In the American Mafia, a made man is a fully initiated member of the Mafia. To become "made", an associate first has to be sponsored by another made man.”

Hmmmm….Kind of sounds like the same procedure for joining fraternal orders like the Eagles or Moose lodge. LOL

“An inductee will be required to take the oath of Omertà, the mafia code of silence. After the induction ceremony the associate becomes a "made man", and holds the rank of soldier in the Mafia hierarchy.”

While this may sound fairly easy to achieve, it really isn’t. There are certain rules, regulations and procedures that must happen first….. even in the Mafia. Let’s take a closer look.

1. “An inductee is required to be full Italian.

This was traditionally the case, but as the generations pass, prospects are becoming more and more…. shall we say, “Americanized” and many potential candidates are now third and fourth generation and of Italian-American heritage, so finding full-blooded contenders was becoming difficult. Because of this, the requirement was loosened to include half-Italian candidates… on their father’s side.

John A. Gotti (son of mobster John Gotti) is a good example of a made man who was not of full Italian descent. His maternal grandmother was a Russian Jew. Oh Lordy! Worker would have a heyday with that one!

2. “An associate of a crime family who has been in the police force or even attended a police academy usually cannot become a made member of the Mafia.”

Now this does seem like a logical requirement, but there actually have been a few exception to this rule. Ron Previte of Scarfo crime family was a corrupt member of the Philadelphia police force and Chicago Outfit member Richard Cain was a Chicago PD officer, both of whom were inducted into the organization even with their police backgrounds.

Interestingly, it has been rumored that Richard Cain was involved in the murder of JFK and that it was actually he and Charles Nicoletti (a Chicago Outfit hitman) who were in the Texas Book Depository on November 22, 1963, not Lee Harvey Oswald. But nothing has ever been proven and both men are now dead so that is one secret they may well have taken to their graves.

3. “Before being inducted, a potential made man is often required to carry out a contract killing.”

Committing one's first contract killing is referred to as "making one's bones". This rule was traditionally enforced to prove a candidate’s loyalty to the family indicating that he would do anything that the family required of him. In more modern times, it also serves to show that a candidate is not an undercover cop or FBI agent.

In decades past, candidates didn’t actually have to do the killing, just be involved, like driving the getaway car or being present at the murder. But during the 1980s the rule was changed and now made men must do the killing themselves. And…… murders committed for “personal reasons” do not count.

4. “An associate would have to be sponsored by a made man.”

I alluded to this at the beginning of this blog and it is indeed one of the requirements to earn the title of made man in the Mafia, but it goes a bit deeper than that. In years past, one only needed the recommendation of another made man, but that has since been changed and a candidate must now be invited to become a made man and have at least two sponsors, one of whom must have known him for at least 10 to 15 years. The sponsors shall know the associate and vouch for his loyalty, reliability and abilities. Although a capo or other senior members will determine the prospective member's credibility, the ultimate decision lies with the boss of the family as to whether or not the candidate is initiated.
The Initiation Ceremony

Once a candidate is approved by the family boss, his journey to becoming a Made Man is not over. He must also go through an initiation ritual. The first ritual recorded, was in Italy in 1877 and included oaths, blood and strict agreements to follow the rules and orders of the Mafia… or else….

In modern times, the initiation ritual is still very much the same but may have slight variances based on the family or the Boss in charge.

Typically the ceremony is held at a secret meeting place and may include dinner. The recruit (or recruits if there are more than one) are lead into the presence of other members, many of which are heavily armed. The recruits are “presented” to the attendees and the ceremony begins.

The inductees are told what is expected of them, what the family rules are and the Mafia Code is explained. For the most part, the Mafia Code is similar to that of other crime organizations and gang societies, and also very similar to the inmates code found in American prisons. It is basically a thief’s code with five main bullet points.

1. Be loyal to members of the organization. Do not interfere with each other's interest. Do not be an informer.

2. Be rational. Be a member of the team. Don't engage in battle if you can't win….The directive extends to personal life.

3. Be a man of honor. Respect womanhood and your elders. Don't rock the boat….

4. Be a stand-up guy. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut. Don't sell out….The 'stand-up guy' shows courage and 'heart.' He does not whine or complain in the face of adversity, including punishment, because 'If you can't pay, don't play.'

5. Have class. Be independent. Know your way around the world.

The ceremony continues with the trigger finger, or some other part of the body being pricked with a needle or knife and the blood is dripped on a holy card or other image of Jesus, the Virgin Mary or a Saint like Saint Francis of Assisi. The card is then set on fire and passed quickly between inductees as each pledges his oath of loyalty to the Mafia family while holding the burning card.

The first recorded induction ritual in the US was described by Joe “Cargo” Valachi who was inducted into the Italian-American Mafia, aka Cosa Nostra, along with three other candidates in 1930.

I sit down at the table. There is wine. Someone put a gun and a knife in front of me. The gun was a .38 and the knife was what we call a dagger. Maranzano [the boss] motions us up and we say some words in Italian. Then Joe Bonanno pricks my finger with a pin and squeezes until the blood comes out. What then happens, Mr. Maranzano says, 'This blood means that we are now one Family. You live by the gun and the knife and you die by the gun and the knife.'
Rank and Privileges

After the induction ceremony the associate becomes a made man … and sometimes referred to as having “received his button”. He now holds the rank of soldier in the Mafia hierarchy and is given family responsibilities and receives family benefits from the Mafia. He has the full protection and backing of his Mafia family as long as he remains in good standing and earns enough money, a percentage of which must be passed up the hierarchy.

In addition, a made man is considered untouchable by fellow criminals. He is respected and feared. To hit or kill a made man for any reason without the permission of the Mafia family is against the rules and punishable by death, regardless of whether there was a legitimate reason or not. However, a made man can be killed if there is a good enough reason but must first be approved by the Mafia family leadership.

Now, you may wonder how you would introduce a made man to others if you were in the mafia. The answer is all about the salutation. When introducing one made man to another, the phrase "a friend of ours" is used, which indicates that he is a member of the organization and business can be discussed freely with him.

If the person being introduced is an associate or civilian to whom business should not be mentioned, the phrase "a friend of mine" is used instead.

In closing, it is worth noting too, that only made men are allowed to rise through the ranks of the Mafia family. From soldier to caporegime, to underboss or consigliere, and finally to boss. In the coming rounds we will look at the other levels in the Mafia heirarchy, what they mean and what you have to do to climb the mafia corporate ladder.
By Ink-Slinger

That’s it for now my friends! I hope you enjoyed this blog and if you are interested in submitting a blog of your own, please contact me in game or via email to: [email protected].

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Have a GREAT weekend all!