brief history of the movement against military draft in Spain
Information from COA-MOC, Zaragoza - translated
by Global Women's Strike, Spain, October 2004
objectors in Spain
The first in Spain were the Jehova's witness' after war which brought
Franco to power. Between
1958 and 1976 285 objectors were sent to prison to serve a total of 3218
of "Insumisos" - people who refuse to do military service
Military courts sent the first insumisos in 1989 to prison for 5 -13
months. Afterwards they only
put on trial 31 insumisos (8.5% of the total) and the averge sentence was
those in prison included deserters from the first Gulf War.
Two, José Antonio Escalada and Manuel Blázquez were recognised as
prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International, Blázquez not serving
sentence until 1996.
there were 107 trials and 65% were sent to prison for a year or less.
In the first three months of 1993 there were 108 trials and 77% had
sentecens of a year or less.
was a hot year for insumision. In
April the prison of Iruña 46 insumisos went on hunger strike calling for
"Don't feed the army". Five
months later the authorities sent 8 insumisos to different parts of the
country, leaving them isolated from their families and support networks.
This was after the insumiso prison protests had focussed on prison
conditions and prisoner abuse.
On the 1
Nov there was another 20 day hunger strike in the Iruña and Zaragoza
prisons protesting the disperal of the 8 insumisos, as well as the
military character and authoritarian penetentiary system.
years three people lost their lives in the protests.
Two insumisos commited suicide whilst in prison.
A young woman, Virginia, was run over at a protest outside a
prison. The prison personel
refused to help and after twenty minutes without medical attention she
sisters, girlfriends, other family members, neighbours and organisations
were very active in the insumiso movement. As well as being part of the
objection organisations they formed support groups for individual
insumisos. When in prison their support work was essential. They were in
permanent contact and met regulary. They
let people know about the prisoner's needs and requests - whether
political, social or material - as well as to how the insumiso was doing
colleges and universities were full of information and campaigns as people
protested that the young men were sent away to be trained as killers, a
training which could lead to death and injury.
law anyone who encouraged or convinced someone to not do military service
could face the same sentence. The
campaigns included well-known people - actors, politicians, teachers -
declaring that they had done this. None
was ever put on trial however the legal defence of the insumisos called
them as witnesses and saw that some judges responded with lighter
Attacks on insumisos
studies and work
In 1995 the new Penal Code laid way for punishing insumisos through
disqualifying them from their work and studies, and imposing fines. Work
disqualification was between 10 and 14 years for insumisos of military
service, 8-12 years for insumisos of the community work alternative, the
fines were up to 35 million pesetas (approx £210,000)
one case, José Casquero, who had served 28 months in the Salamanca
prison, found he was then also disqulified to work as a primary school
teacher. In another case, Ricardo Royo-Villanueva who refused to do
military service, was sent to prison for 28 months and disqualified from
being a councillor of Las Rozas where he had been recently elected.
from the military
were tried by military courts and were sent to military prisons for 28
months to 6 years. Up to 1998
19 young men had deserted, some picked up when participating in
non-violent anti-military demonstrations.
of military service and the beginning of "papers" for
Since 2001 no-one has
been called up to serve in the Spanish military.
The Partido Popular (the right) had to fullfill an election promise
of ending the "mili" and establishing a profesional and waged
army, however it has never covered the predicted number of soldiers. In 2001 there were 120,000 places, which has been brought
down each year, to now it's at 70,000.
Even after this the Ministry of Defense hasn't managed to to cover
the places and for several years now recruits non-nationals from america
latina, promising that they will get papers and the right to live in Spain
after serving. Noteably this
offer doesn't include immigrants from Morroco or arabic countries.
of the statement by the Conscientious Objection Movement on the final
forced military draft on 8 November 2000
we are overjoyed to see the definitive end of the debacle of military
service and substitute community service. Within a year no one will have
to suffer this form of servitude, the school of anti-values which deny
human living together and factory farm obedient, uncritical citizens. The
army will no longer have this harmful institution at its disposition,
which until not long ago was seen as the natural order of things, to
socialise the macho, homophobic, authoritarian, uncritical obedience and
the cult of violence; a mark of its own structure and functioning.
is even more, if that's possible, as the abolition-suspension of military
service is principally as a consequence of grassroots social and
participatory mobilisation by the antimilitarist movement for almost 30
years. The abolition of the
"mili" is a true social conquest, and the decision by the
government and their allies, taken at the end of 1996 and updated a few
months ago, only reflected the inevitable and has been forced by a
collective change in thinking, in spite of politically opportunistic
de Objeción de Conciencia (MOC)
Antimilitarist groups remain active to date protesting military spending,
organising boycotts of military companies, campaigning for people to not
pay the part of their taxes which corresponds to the military budget and
promoting objection across the world.