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The association of mothers of Spanish conscientious objectors and deserters

03 / 1994

"The organization of Spanish deserters is composed of people who see anti-militarism as a means of controlling the fabric of domination that impoverishes the immense majority of the world’s population. A mere twenty per cent of the population own eighty per cent of the world’s wealth. More accurate statistics mention the misery affecting two thirds of the population, millions of people suffer situations at the limit of bearable, fratricidal conflicts, and migratory movements caused by hunger. The arms trade and the fueling of conflicts, especially in the Third World, contribute to supporting the economies of several countries. Certain western governments do not hesitate today to use military force in strategic areas. Perhaps they will hesitate still less when the demographic tension becomes unbearable.

"The organization knows that the fair distribution of resources cannot be obtained without the elimination of the structures in place, such as armies, that maintain the status quo. It is not enough to refuse to contribute to their operation. Their elimination requires more active contribution. This is the aim of the organization.

"No in-depth reform of these structures as they exist now can occur as long as governments continue to be war machines above all else, directed by the armed elite, and we entreat our children to claim the role of civil society as the protagonist of an increasingly equal and juster world, by calling into question the powers that be and by unmasking the military-industrial complex, responsible for most of the tragedy through which the major part of mankind lives. In certain European countries, lawmakers have tried to get rid of the anti-military character implied by the refusal of military service and by imposing a substitute service rendered to the State. Although these laws are capable of solving the problem of those who refuse to take up arms, it is unacceptable for anti-militarists who pursue an aim that goes further than exemption from military service. In this context, praise should be given to the position of the Spanish deserters who reject their position in the army or in any structure, civil or humanitarian, that could contribute to maintaining the military structure intact.

"We are opposed to the obligation to do social work, since we consider that it produces effects contrary to those that we pursue. Giving jobs to objectors has a negative effect on employment during a period when the unemployment rate is outrageously high."This attitude of disobediance is nothing other than the awareness of certain citizens vis-a-vis laws, such as those regulating obligatory military service which they consider are detrimental to humanity. We therefore consider disobediance to the law as legitimate, that it does not serve personal interests and that it is the passive rejection by citizens faced by the military actions of the State.

"As anti-militarists and the mothers of conscientious objectors and deserters, we share with our sons the total refusal of militarism and all its manifestations. It is our intention to teach them liberty, responsibility, solidarity, tolerance, pacific coexistence, and compromise, so that they know how to deal with the socio-political situations they have to live through. It’s for this reason that we rejoice, that at the moment they have to serve the military institutions, they act in accordance with their ideas, even if these mean that they must go to prison."

The situation in a few figures :

The number of young people refusing to do their military service (for a period lasting nine months since 1992)has shot up since the Gulf war. In 1993, 68,000 young people out of 200,000 conscripts asked to be considered as conscientious objectors. Of these 68,000, 1,300 were rejected. In 1993, the number of deserters amounted to 4,500. At present 128 deserters are serving jail sentences.

Key words

woman, history, collective memory, injustice, women’s organization

, Spain


SOLMA is a group of women from the whole world active in the transformation of the relations between human beings, so that children and young people can get an education based on solidarity, liberty, equality, respect of environment and defence of human rights, which shows the way to peace and coexistence.

Based on a speech made at the International Meeting of Mothers held in Paris from 27 to 31 March 1994. Contact : Madres de insumisos, Corregidor Jos’ de Pasamonte 29.1 B, 28030 Madrid, Spain, Tel. (34-1)4309673. Original text in French in this data base.


Organisation presentation ; Colloquium, conference, seminar,… report


SOLMA (Solidarité avec les Mères de la Place de Mai) - 18 rue Nollet, 75017 Paris, FRANCE - Tél. 33 (0)1 43 87 59 00 - Fax 33 (0)1 42 94 09 86 - France

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