The French Secretary of State for the Ecological Transition of the Government of Edouard Philipe (First Prime Minister of Macron), Brune Poirson, wrote a book called La Maffia du Plastique (The Plastic Maffia).
Brune Poirson dives into the obscure world of the plastic machine and comes to the same conclusion as American writer Norman Mailer that plastic is the absolute evil.
From where she lived in Asia, to the benches of the French Parliament where she passed the law for the Circular Economy against Waste, she describes with a freedom of tone that is rarely seen for a politician, the reasons why plastic has become a deadly virus.
A political, economic and ecological intrigue that takes us from an oil refinery to the Council of Ministers, and from a slum to the United Nations.
She analyses the power and the decision mechanisms of that world.
La Maffia du Plastique is a contemporary tragedy, a thrilling noir novel comparable to globalization thrillers.
What is “maffia” and where does it come from?
The official definition is
A type of organized crime syndicate whose primary activities are protection racketeering, arbitrating disputes between criminals, and brokering and enforcing illegal agreements and transactions.
Etymologically speaking, to word maffia comes from the Arabic word “ma’afi” meaning “exempted”. In Islamic law, non-Muslims residing in Muslim lands have to pay the Jizya (yearly tax). The people who pay it are “exempted” from prosecution.
Mafia has become a generic term to describe a crime syndicate but comes initially from Sicily.
There’s an alternative story to the origin of the word “maffia “.
Napoleon invaded Sicily in 1807. One of the first spoils of war are women. French soldiers attacked and raped young Sicilian women. The Sicilian mothers tried to intervene but were not strong enough to stop the crime; so they went on the street to get help and shouted “mia Figlia, mia Figlia” (my daughter, my daughter). Eventually, the villagers showed up and beat up the French soldiers. The French soldiers reported to their HQ that a crime ring called “ma-fia” or “maffia” was operating in Sicily. The term was coined.
Maffia became a symbol to describe local Sicilian villagers trying to fight foreign invaders.
To some extend it became their “common” goal or objective …. Cosa Nostra comes from “Our cause; “Our fight”.
Is “maffia” a group of local thugs or is there something more? Let’s look at the Russian maffia
Russia used to be the Soviet Union or USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) from 1922 to 1991.
The Soviet Union was based on the communist ideology inspired by Karl Marx’ book “Das Kapital” which would translate correctly to “Haute Finance” or big money.
The Soviet Union reorganised society from a labour class perspective. The rhetoric goes as follow: the labour class had been exploited by the Big Money and it was time to end this.
It may have been a nice theory on paper, but in reality it was something else. We discovered afterwards that a whole class of people had been living with the same privileges as “Das Kapital“; they were the elite of the Communist party and were referred to as the “Nomenclature“.
The collapse of the USSR was inevitable. Policies such as Glasnost (Openness and Transparency) and Perestroika (reformation) accelerated the end of the Soviet Union.
The Nomenclature knew too well that the American or Western “Kapital” would buy all the industrial assets and transform Russia into an “American Disneyland”.
The Nomenclature came up with a solution, a survival mechanism. The Soviet industrial assets were quickly sold to (or stolen by) the Nomenclature. A paramilitia emerged from this and started to racketeer American and Western companies. We could say that the Russian maffia and oligarchs were survival mechanisms emanating from the desire of the Soviet Nomenclature to remain in power.
Has the Maffia Always Been bad?
The US army worked or partnered with the maffia during WWII in at least two cases.
Operation Underworld was meant to involve the maffia to protect US Navy vessels in the US from German and Italian saboteurs.
The US Army was helped by the Sicilian Maffia to invade Sicily through operation Husky.
The legend says that when Mussolini came to visit Sicily during the war, the Sicilian maffia offered their help to Mussolini. Benito told them that he was the boss and needed nobody’s help. Very shortly after this, the Allies invaded Sicily with the help of the maffia.
It was said that Pablo Escobar (Columbian drug kartels) used to build houses for the poor people in Columbia.
It’s been said that the Sicilian maffia is giving or lending money to the poor people in Sicily who are not being helped by the Italian government during the covid crisis; acting as some kind of social security.
Is Brune Poirson right when she refers to a Plastic Maffia? Who are they? The word mafia could be used to describe several things.
- Powerful Companies & Executives
The term “plastic maffia” may be used satirically to describe the fact that plastic and chemical companies or executives are very powerful and highly connected to the political world. They’re very efficient in interfering with and influencing the political decision making process.
- Parallell Hierarchy
The word “maffia” could also be used to describe some kind of parallel hierarchy in the plastic industry. CEOs of big companies rely heavily on their entourage to know what is going on in their sector. Some CEOs may even be blind to what is happening in the real world. It may well be that some senior executives are more powerful than their own CEOs. We could ironically refer to them as the plastic maffia.
A more obscure option would be the fact that some individuals or lobbyist working for the plastic industry use illegal and immoral means to obtain or avoid decisions and actions. These individuals’ actions could be characterised by a determination to get things done at whatever human or environmental cost. These individuals are member of highly powerful networks that have access to powerful people and important resources. They surf above the law and moral codes. They bribe politicians, public officials and coerce honest citizens, communities and journalists. They belong to the forces of evil.
- Plastic Waste Export
Western countries don’t have enough recycling infrastructure to recycle all the waste so the plastic is sent to less developed countries to be recycled. Over the years, there have been many scandals where the plastic waste was not recycled but landfilled, incinerated or dumped in the open air. These are structured schemes to make a quick profit. To some extend, we could say that these are “environmental”crime rings.
Brune had to resign from the French government when President Macron dismantled the Government of Edouard Phillippe and named Jean Castex as his new Prime Minister.
Brune Poirson was supposed to go back to the parliament; but she also resigned from her parliamentary mandate.
The release of her book La Maffia du Plastique has also been delayed.
Where is Brune Poirson? Has anyone seen Brune Poirson?