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State VS mafia: leaders' frame & language power dynamics

Soldiers fight wars in the battlefields.

Leaders should fight them equally effectively all around it.

Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro arrested in Sicily | CNN

Rule 1: keep your enemy beneath you


A top mafia boss, one of the most wanted men for EU-wide police Europol, has been arrested (and BTW, as it's common with mafia bosses, already interviews with people saying "what a kind person he was" are surfacing).

And Italian's prime minister said:

A great victory for the state, which demonstrates that it does not give up in the face of the Mafia.”

First of all, notice the frame of the state VS the mafia.

That may be true, but it raises mafia to the same level of the state -or higher-, a place where it should never be.

It feels like mafia is stronger, more entrenched... But the state doesn't throw the towel in yet (but it's on the ropes).

The state is the higher power party, it has more resources, more people, more money, it writes the laws... It should never raise the challenger to his level -or higher :S-.

If she wanted to keep that "state VS mafia" frame, it should have at least shown a better dynamic.
For example, the state framed as the "good" and is in pursuit and the mafia framed as "bad" and hiding.


The state scores another important victory as we bring justice and chase mafia away from our beautiful Sicilian land

Noice the keyword:

  • Another victory, as in "there were more before, and more are coming"
  • We bring justice: we're the good side
  • We chase them away: like you'd with pests and rats
  • Our beautiful land: that's our land, not mafia's (and "beautiful" is also an uplifting power move to compliment Sicialisn and encourage them to support and sympathize with the state) 

Something like that.

Rule 2: Use positive sentences: negative ones seed doubt

We saw this same dynamic before with India's president Modi.

It's the same here.

Even if in the negative format with the "not", the words "give up" are still there.

They open the "give up" thread that had no business in being opened.

And it starts raising doubts in people's minds.

First issue with the negative structure:

The state does not give up... Says the state prime minister, an obviously biased party.

Is this just standard politician's talk with no substance behind, one may wonder.

Second issue:

The topic of giving up is now in the open.

Even if you trust this prime minister, could it give up in the future?
Maybe with the next PM, or maybe the people behind the PM aren't fully on board.

If the PM wanted to talk a battle talk, then she should like act like a good commander.

And as a leader you owe it to your troops to empower your team's efforts with the right mindsets, beliefs, attitude frames, and words.

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