A brief history of the movement against military draft in Spain
Information from COA-MOC, Zaragoza - translated by Global Women's Strike, Spain, October 2004

Early conscientious 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 years.

Trials 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 18 days.

In 1991 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.

In 1992 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.

Prison protests
1994 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.

Over the 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 died.

Support campaigns
Mothers, 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 generally.

Schools, 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.

Under the 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 sentencing.

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)

In 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.

Desertion from the military
Deserters 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.

End of military service and the beginning of "papers" for "cannon fodder"
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.

Excerpt of the statement by the Conscientious Objection Movement on the final forced military draft on 8 November 2000
"Firstly, 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.

"Our joy 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 declarations."

Movimiento de Objeción de Conciencia (MOC)
The 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.