AA-MOC Statement: We demand an immediate halt to the State of Alarm in Spain, along with the demilitarization of air traffic controllers


Alternativa Antimilitarista-MOC demands an immediate halt to the State of Alarm regarding air traffic controllers in Spain, as well as their demilitarization.

AA-MOC is a countrywide network of grass-roots, membership-based groups operating in Spain since 1977 to seek a world without wars and armies through non-violent actions and civil disobedience. AA-MOC fostered conscientious objection and refusal to perform compulsory military service until it finally collapsed and was abolished in 2002.

Given the situation generated by the air traffic controllers strike and the measures taken by the Spanish State, the members of the AA-MOC state the following:

1. We strongly reject the media lynching campaign unleashed against air traffic controllers by the Government, unanimously followed by virtually all of them. The aggressive, warlike language coming from the public powers represents a real incitation to hatred and unfortunately has permeated wide sectors of a weak and remote-controlled public opinion.

2. Despite our regret over the negative impact of the strike for the hundreds of thousands of people who had to spend the night in airports, we celebrate the fact that at least during that day in which flights were suspended, the skies were kept free from thousands of tons of CO2 –a causative agent of climate change, and no immigrant was expatriated in Spanish-run planes, as is usually the case. It was also a moment to reflect on our oil dependency, a depleting resource and a source of wars and totalitarian regimes in vast regions of the planet.

3. We demand the immediate abolition of the State of Alarm and the militarization of the air traffic controllers, as well as the withdrawal of the military from the airports. Using military measures to cope with a purely labor conflict and labeling as "normal" a situation in which a group of workers are forced to work under threats of imprisonment are characteristic features of totalitarian regimes. The suppression of liberties and basic rights implicit in the submission of civil staff to military authority cannot be tolerated and should be plainly rejected through public and collective disobedience. The decree-law which places controllers under military orders whenever the Government deems it necessary, the criminalization campaign and the subsequent explanations seem to confirm that we are moving towards a social scenario in which the right to strike could only be used through civil disobedience.

4. The conflict with the air traffic controllers is surrounded and motivated by the harsh economic crisis caused by the world's financial system, but mostly by the wave of structural violence unleashed by the adjustments, cutbacks and attacks against collective social rights; measures in which the Government functions as a simple driver for the economic policies imposed by international financial agencies. Public powers impose brutal cutbacks through decrees-law (such as the one which led to the controllers strike, leading toward AENA's [1] privatization, or another one to eliminate unemployment benefits) and provide for increasingly hard and militarized repressive means as needed to contain the protests and social revolts such measures generate. This seems to be the most important lesson to learn for the future from the events of the past days.

5. The massive amount of public money and resources which the military machinery requires (around 18 billion Euros per year) is now in itself a burden for our society, a burden especially unacceptable now that social benefits are being ruthlessly dismantled. In these days we have also seen how the borders between the police and the military are vanishing, and how the army is taking on new functions for the domestic control of social conflicts which add to its traditional function as supporting actor in the permanent global war as well as policies to dominate Southern peoples both politically and economically. The fight to overcome the crisis and the capitalist economic model should be linked to the fight for the abolition of armies and militarism.

We, the members of AA-MOC, will keep on devoting our bodies, our imagination and our intelligence through non-violent, disobedient actions to hinder militarism and militarization: not only the political, economic and cultural preparations for wars, but also the current attacks of structural violence by public and financial powers against previously won rights and liberties.


[1] AENA is the Spanish public authority which owns and manages the air traffic and civil airports in Spain. However, the Government announced a few days before the air traffic controllers strike that it is going to be partially privatized.

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