Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Big Al, Bugs and that massacre

On this day, 78 years ago, the forces of Big Al rubbed out key members of George 'Bugs' Moran's organisation in a Chicago garage.

This incident has long posed a quandary for principled anti-imperialists: which side would we have supported? On the face of it, the answer is easy: Big Al's mob was the biggest, most powerful outfit in town, whereras the Moran gang were the underlings: plainly, we support Moran (this analysis will have the added appeal, for some, that Moran was a deeply religious man, whose hatred of Big Al was motivated, he claimed, by his moral objection to the Capone mob's involvement in prostitution).

But here comes the problem for us principled folk: Moran's outfit, though predominantly Irish, were Anglophones, and therefore the historic oppressors. The Capone organisation, on the other hand, were Sicilians - long the victims of anti-Italian stereotyping and Siciliaphobia. Their strike against Moran was, therefore an entirely justified symbolic blow against the forces of oppression and racism worldwide, and would have to be supported on that basis, even if their methods were not ours.

Just goes to show, doesn't it, that your initial response to events isn't always the correct one. A little thought and analysis always pays off, especially when dealing with crucial issues like this one.


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