Mafia On Wheels

May 15, 2018

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Mafia On Wheels

By the time you read this a jury in San Antonio may have already decided the fate of former Bandidos Motorcycle Club president Jeffrey Pike and former vice-president John Portillo. A federal jury got the case today. In a sane world both men would be acquitted.

In case you had not noticed, this is a world gone mad – a world made of memes. “Meme” is a hipster world that describes a lie that spreads from person to person, like venereal disease, except instead of love it spreads through social media like Facebook or mass media like CNN. As memes spread they mutate and become ever more removed from actual reality. Memes are where headlines come from. “Biker Brawl!” “Banditos Chieftain!!” “Mafia On Wheels!!!”

Memes were conceptualized in a 1976 book called The Selfish Gene but they were mostly theoretical until the invention of social media. The concept was that ideas evolve just like organisms through competition – survival of the fittest. Initially that competition was only measurable through things like Nielsen television ratings. Now memes, what the names of ideas evolve to mean, are immediately observable through “like” and “share” buttons. Memes are what happen when bad ideas get spread through “shares.” The evolution of memes is also dependent on phenomena like inheritance and mutation.

“Biker gang” is a meme. Maybe defense attorneys should start asking prospective jurors how much time they spend on the internet.

Mafia On Wheels

The less people know about anything the easier it is for them to be mistaken or misled. Motorcycle clubs – because they are arcane societies – are easier to transform into something absurd than it is to transform the idea “Super Bowl” into something ridiculous because so many people have direct knowledge of the Super Bowl. A football game with a bloated halftime is what it is. Everybody agrees.
But, at most, a few hundred thousand people have direct knowledge of what a motorcycle club is so it is much easier to redefine the idea of motorcycle club into something ridiculous – like “the mafia on wheels.”

Motorcycle club experts, criminologists, prosecutors, policemen and breathless television reporters have been describing motorcycle clubs as mafias on wheels for a quarter century.

Getting Meryl Streep

In 1982, federal prosecutors began using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law to federally prosecute motorcycle clubs. The first club the Department of Justice went after was the Dago charter of the Hells Angels. And, that was only possible because the year before the Supreme Court had changed what the phrase “criminal organization” meant. When the law was first enacted a criminal organization was a business that had been corrupted by the so-called Italian Mafia. With the Turkette decision in 1981, the Supreme Court changed the definition of “criminal organization” to mean, for all practical purposes, any organization the government wants to get.

For example, if Russell Crowe, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey all belong to the Motion Pictures Association of America, and ten years ago Dustin Hoffman fondled a young actress, six years ago Spacey fondled a young boy and last year Weinstein raped an actress, the MPAA becomes a criminal organization and at the hands of a clever prosecutor Crowe, Hanks and Streep can all be indicted for conspiracy to commit sexual assault. The only reason they are not is because it is easier to go after people like Portillo and Pike. There is an entire prosecutorial philosophy about who to go after and who to leave alone called “the Enterprise Theory of Investigation.”

RICO began during the Nixon Administration as a way to keep members of the “Mafia,” which was seen as an organization motivated by profit, from investing the money its members made illegally into legitimate businesses. That’s what Al Capone almost did. Capone was trying to get out of the whiskey business and into the milk and butter businesses when he was charged with tax evasion.

Profit Or Honor

The problem with arguing that the Bandidos Motorcycle Club is the modern equivalent of the old New York Mafia or the ‘Ndrangheta or the Latin American cartels is that those later groups exist to make money and enrich their associates. Motorcycle clubs are not about money nearly so much as ego. The pride Bandidos feel in being Bandidos is, generally, much more important to them and their self-image than any money they might get from selling contraband.

In his closing argument yesterday, federal prosecutor Eric Fuchs admitted as much. He accused Pike and Portillo of caring too much about “respect” and “power.” He accused the Bandidos of nourishing a “feeling of superiority.” He said those feelings led some members to eventually murder, sell drugs. ride too fast, demand respect and beat up people they thought were rude to them.

Fuchs called that “the Bandido way. That’s the culture.” It is also the culture of most police departments. Fuchs described the culture as “the mafia on two wheels.”

But none of the things the motorcycle club actually did were motivated by profit. Motorcycle clubs aren’t about profit. They are driven by masculine ideals expressed in a rigid honor code.

The trial of Pike and Portillo isn’t about making citizens safer or about punishing people who got rich by cheating. It is about selectively prosecuting people on the basis of their status as “objective enemies.”


About 20 years ago the Canadian anthropologist Daniel Wolf commented on the meme that motorcycle clubs are mafias.

He described motorcycle clubs as “closed paramilitary organizations” and he said that when he rode with the Rebels in Canada he rode “In anger. For me it became a show of contempt and a way of defying the privileged middle class that had put me down, and kept my parents ‘in their place.’”

Wolf couldn’t buy the idea that club members were “professional criminals.” He thought that “just the way they present themselves in bars gets them into fights. It would be hard to find long-time bikers without some arrest for assault or public disturbance. But if their primary purpose was to commit crimes, they wouldn’t maintain this kind of profile.” That was almost a generation ago and the percentage of club members with arrests for crimes like simple assault, drug possession and disorderly conduct its probably much lower now than it was then.

But Wolf would probably find the notion that motorcycle clubs are the Mafia as ridiculous now as he did then.

“Wouldn’t it be neat if the Mafia rode bikes,” Wolf joked. “And they all went to Chicago with `Mafia/NYC’ or `Mafia/Chicago’ on their backs and maybe some lasagna in the backpack?’”

That’s what Eric Fuchs asked jurors in San Antonio to believe yesterday. That’s what the government’s case boiled down to: Rhetoric, clichés, lies, memes and gullible jurors who get their opinions from social media and TV.

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23 Responses to “Mafia On Wheels”

  1. Wretched Man Says:


    At first I noticed every second article had no ads, so I just clicked on the available links a few extra times…
    Now there are NO LINKS whatsoever…

    You obviously make nefarious gangsters very uneasy prompting the hacking of your site, and now this.

    Thank you for keeping us informed of what is really going on
    Much respect to you Sir

  2. Anonymous Says:


    well since you asked,

    Rebel says ““Meme” is a hipster word that describes a lie that spreads from person to person, like venereal disease, except instead of love it spreads through social media like Facebook or mass media like CNN.”

    ^ Memes are by the people for the people. Merriam-Webster’s first definition of the word meme is: “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture”. CNN or the News is not one of the primary ways that memes spread. It’s more likely the news spreads the raw materials that eventually make a new meme, and a meme is not necessarily a lie, although it can be. And if by Hipster Rebel means the contemporary subculture, memes pre-date them. Or if he means the definition of hipster “a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream”. Well I would disagree again with that because no matter if your trendy or not or what culture you belong to, everyone carries and spreads memes both consciously and subconsciously as much as they breathe.

    Rebel also says, “As memes spread they mutate and become ever more removed from actual reality.”

    ^ Successful memes are as fresh as the daily news. To be spread successfully they have to be relevant and in touch, they usually ride the cutting edge of pop culture. I would say as they spread and mutate they become ever more in touch with reality.

  3. Neuro Says:

    @ David T.: at the bike wash on Saturday, 5/5/18 ?

  4. Freebird Says:

    Somebody is trying to put me out of business

    Three guess’s….. two don’t count

  5. Austin Says:

    @Anonymous – re; ” … is terribly inaccurate in this article….”

    Do Tell.
    Because it looks pretty accurate to me. Are you focusing strictly on Internet memes?

    Just imagine the word ‘idea’ where Rebel used ‘lie’ – (which is in fact – an idea) and maybe you will feel better about everything.

  6. Austin Says:

    @ T ….somebody please submit for it; or ANY of the many topics covered here for the past TEN YEARS.

  7. Rebel Says:

    Dear Robert Collins,

    I don’t know. I am just now learning about. Probably one of the reasons why my revenue is down. Somebody is trying to put me out of business.


  8. robert collins Says:

    Rebel you tell the truth plain and simple. I have a question, what happened to your ads on your blog they are missing up here in Canada.

  9. Rebel Says:

    Dear David Torres,

    No. I am well aware of what happened and I am not going to cover that one. I don’t need to stir any pots. Neither do you. If there is significant news in the case, I will cover it then.


  10. jrino Says:

    When I get called to jury duty they always release me because I tell the Judge that Cops always lie. I may start adding that DA’S always lie too! If I was on this jury there is no way I would convict. simply by just putting myself in the defendants shoes.

  11. Que Mi Amo Says:

    Anybody that believes the Bandits are “Organized Crime” should follow them out of town until the first rest stop!

  12. david Says:

    Since 1970, prosecutorial misconduct has been cited as a factor when dismissing charges at trial, reversing convictions or reducing sentences in AT LEAST 2, 017 cases.
    Two proofs of misconduct in this case:

    Mischaracterizing the evidence or facts to the COURT and jury.

    Using false or MISLEADING evidence.


  13. David Torres Says:

    No story on the Mongol getting killed?

  14. david Says:

    Yeah, anthro-apoligist Wolf was joking about lasagna in backpacks, yet maybe he was referring to his “lasagna for brains”. But he wrote a book.

    Attorney Eric Fuchs may have determined his name, guarantees the fucking he apparently is able to do to people.

    And the jurors in the carnival show, hopefully some of them will have the ability to perceive truth in the persecutions large pile of shit.

  15. Oregon Moose Says:

    Hopefully the jury has at least a few sane people on it. It would be nice to see an acquittal in this case. But frankly I’m of the opinion that society as a whole is becoming dumber, and what the sheep consume on social media is taken as truth regardless of whether or not there is any truth at all in the content.

    Paladin is absolutely correct in his previous post – MCs (and bikers in general) have to become smarter. Look at the recent history of ATF/FBI/etc. attempts to infiltrate and then prosecute MCs. Their method is to first infiltrate with CIs, then the CIs entice other members to participate in illegal activities. Also the CIs do whatever is possible to incite friction between rival groups. Eventually conflict results, and LEO is ready to swoop in and make arrests.

    LEO has used this general tactic with varying degrees of success against the HA, Mongols, Vagos, Outlaws, and Bandidos that I know of. Read Rebel’s books and older posts on this blog for more information on this – it’s all out there.

    If those of us who choose to live in this fringe lifestyle on the outskirts of society don’t wise up to what LEO is doing, and look for those patterns in our own clubs and associations, eventually we will all fall to RICO and conspiracy prosecutions.

    Trust No One

  16. Sieg Says:

    I think the definition of memes is pretty damn good. Most of them are total bullshit, and they spread like herpes in a steam-room.

    A Putilizer…I never thought of you being nominated for one of those, Rebel, but hey, as long as it’s a good thing…


  17. T Says:

    This article is worthy of a Putiluzer

  18. Trebor Says:

    I liken the whole thing to a jigsaw puzzle.Instead of putting it together piece by piece the prosecution poured the whole thing onto a table and took a mallet to the pile until the pieces fit then claimed”Theres your Picture”.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    The definition of memes and how they spread, is terribly inaccurate in this article.

  20. Paladin Says:

    “That’s what Eric Fuchs asked jurors in San Antonio to believe yesterday. That’s what the government’s case boiled down to: Rhetoric, clichés, lies, memes and gullible jurors who get their opinions from social media and TV.”

    I think it would be much easier for MCs, their members and bikers in general to become smarter, than it would be for jurors to become less gullible.


  21. Iron Rider Says:

    Much like Rebel has already pointed out Fuchs case is much ado about nothing. You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig and as much as Fuchs and the Feds would love to have everyone with that bikers are the boogeyman it just isn’t so

    You can combine all the garbage you want is still garbage and that what’s this case is a collection of anything they couldnt solve and throwing it all in to the pile and calling it RICO.

    Much like with Twin Peaks, you can fan the flames and try to incite something but it doesn’t mean people are stupid enough to believe it. And look at the Twin Peaks cases, falling apart at the seems because there isnt anything there.

    As for the Feds trying these cases under seal and basically in secret, that’s there way of keeping their rats hidden from the light and not letting the public see how they threw all this shit into a pile and trumpeted it as a big take down, I wouldn’t even call it that. But for the Feds it looks great on the 6’o clock news since they are pumping out press releases, but press release s=dont fucking win trumped up cases. Lets hope Pike and Co come out on top

  22. Kenny Says:

    Thanks for info and great read. About time we beat this Ridicules Indictments Concerning Outlaws. In this case Bandits. RICO isnt the one to worry about my lawyer told me conspiracy. Is a easy one to trap ya on and get ya 20.Id say good luck but I just wish the jury would be fair and these fine men would go back to whats left of their life. Respect to those that honor.

  23. Freebird Says:

    “objective enemies.”

    The best definition I have ever seen describing the battlefield…..

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