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The Outlaw Motorcycle Club's Rebellious Bureaucratic Structure

Updated on April 21, 2010

Outlaw motorcycle clubs first started after World War II as a rebellious outlet for “feelings of hostility and alienation” (Abadinsky, 2003, p. 5). The motorcycle “became a symbol of freedom from social responsibilities and restraints” (Abadinsky, 2003, p. 5). Many of these outlaw motorcycle clubs, such as the Hell’s Angels, quickly grew in number and gained popularity worldwide. As the outlaw motorcycle clubs grew, they developed a bureaucratic structure. This bureaucratic structure was very similar to the military since many club members were veterans. The outlaw motorcycle clubs’ bureaucratic structures included organizational charts, constitutions, and bylaws (Abadinsky, 2003).

Outlaws Motorcycle Club
Outlaws Motorcycle Club

Excellent Documentary on the Outlaws

It is interesting that a rebellious group of bikers would form and join an organization so similar to the ones they are rebelling against. Freedom from social responsibilities and restraints were given up by joining an outlaw motorcycle club. According to the Pagan Motorcycle Club Constitution, “all members must have a Harley Davidson 750-1200 CC” and “chapters must have one organized meeting per week” (Abadinsky, 2003, p. 14). How rebellious can the Pagan Motorcycle Club really be when they enforce a certain type of motorcycle, mandate members attend weekly meetings, and even tell members how to wear their “colors”?



Outlaws on the road
Outlaws on the road

It appears many of the ideals these outlaw motorcycle gangs are rebelling against are the same ideals they adopt in their organizational structure. Like any society, members will rebel against their normal environment, form their own rebellious group, and organize themselves into a formal structure. This formal structure causes members to rebel and form their own rebellious group, as a subset of the original rebellious group. History has shown this is very common theme and it is odd these rebels, such as the outlaw motorcycle clubs, end up forming organizational structures so similar to the very ones they claim to rebel against. It is even more perplexing these rebels, such as the outlaw motorcycle clubs, resort to organized crime as a means to support their rebellious cause. If their purpose is rebellion again social norms, why the need for constitutions, dress codes, bylaws, and organized crime?

Reference:  Abadinksky, H. (2003). Organized crime (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth Learning.



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    • charlesjandecka profile image

      charlesjandecka 5 years ago

      Millennia before Sonny Barger or Taco Bowman graced their first Harleys, Jephtah had established himself as a natural bad-ass. Born a bastard and driven from home by step-brothers when their dad died, ole Jeph took no time in forming a band of cutthroats who became well known for their talents. His story begins during the “dark ages” of ancient Israel but ends on the list of noteworthy Bible heroes. The mercy shown to this man is available to the other 2 mentioned above … and to you … and to me.

      Details of Jeph's life can be found in the Bible (Judges chapter 11 and Hebrews chapter 11).


    • profile image

      martinnitsim 5 years ago

      hi matt i got it from a mate so here is there web address

      and details, there very helpful ,say martin netsims recommened you

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      Tim 7 years ago

      Again, a poorly written simply repeat the same thing over and over again. The premise is solid but the writing is poor.

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      rabinkapur 7 years ago


      click here to know about south bike night

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

      A very interesting and thoughtful hub. Thank you, I enjoyed reading all these viewpoints and agree with it.