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Galician Resistance (RG)


Introduction and Overview


Resistência Galega (Galician Resistance or RG) is an armed organisation from Galicia, located in Spain’s northwest. Its ideology is pro-independence, socialist, feminist and environmentalist. The term was first used in 2005, when a manifesto titled Manifesto da Resistência Galega  was published online.


RG has an ideological definition in which violence plays an important role that complements and reinforces the political action of nationalism. Its discourse falls within the typical scheme of nationalist thought which finds in Galicia's insertion within Spain the root of a supposed decadence and exploitation which, it is claimed, can only be overcome through the simultaneous achievement of independence and socialism. (5,7,3)


Resistência Galega is considered a terrorist organisation by, among other courts and institutions, the Audiencia Nacional, the Supreme Court, the Junta de Galicia, the Government of Spain, the Parliament of Galicia, the Congress of Deputies and Europol. It is to this day the only officially recognized terrorist organisation in Spain, along with the ETA (Basque nationalist separatist organisation) (7). This has since been a topic of controversy, as there has been a lack of “evidence that they (RG) attempted against the life, integrity or freedom of people.” (8)


History and Foundation


On 20 July 2005, a few days before the celebration of Galicia Day, coinciding with the feast of St. James the Apostle, Resistência Galega (RG), made itself known through the publication of a manifesto, announcing its support for armed struggle and the immediate start of a violent campaign.


Three days after the manifesto’s publication, the organisation’s first attack took place. RG placed an explosive device at the head offices of the bank Caixa Galicia in the community’s capital of Santiago de Compostela. This act was the solidification of the movement to lead Galician independence and brought multiple violent groups which had been responsible for a chain of acts denounced as terrorist since the start of the new century. (5)


During the 1970s and 1980s, Galicia witnessed the emergence of various armed groups, including the Loita Armada Revolucionaria, "Liga Armada Galega", the Ejército Guerrilheiro do Povo Galego Ceive (EGPGC), and the military front Unión do Povo Galego (UPG), which had a dozen militants. Reportedly, Resistencia Galega was established by the Assembleia da Mocidade Independentista (Assembly of Independentist Youth) as a continuation of these militant groups, as evidenced by the publication of their manifesto in 2005. This document also detailed previous attacks on Spanish army installations and political party offices, among other incidents. (7)


The Spanish National High Court traces the origins of Resistência Galega back to 2005 when Antón García Matos, also known as Tonihno, initiated the revival of EGPGC, a group he was previously involved with and had been incarcerated for. EGPGC had been disbanded in 1975 following the death of one of its members at the hands of the police, with four others imprisoned, prompting the remaining members to flee into exile.


At the end of the decade, the Partido Galego do Proletariado (PGP), which split from UPG in 1978, established Galiza Ceive-OLN (GC-OLN). Under its arm, Loita Armada Revolucionaria (LAR), GC-OLN orchestrated multiple attacks until its dissolution in September 1980, leading to the arrest of several members, including Antom Arias Curto. Curto later became a key figure in the Exército Guerriheiro do Povo Galego Ceive (EGPGV), the terrorist organisation that saw significant growth during those years. Formed in 1983, EGPGV comprised former GC-OLN and UPG members, conducting attacks until 1990, and vanishing permanently three years later. (5,7)


EGPGV is linked to a total of 90 attacks, primarily involving bombs, resulting mainly in material damage. However, they are held responsible for the murder of a civil guard in 1989, as well as the deaths of two individuals in one of their final acts: the explosion in October 1990 at a club, where the two terrorists involved also died, injuring 49 people to varying degrees. (3)


The Guerriheiro Army was defeated by State Security Forces, leading to Arias Curto's imprisonment until 1995. On the same date, the Asamblea de Mocidade Independentista (AMI) was established as an independent entity, although it had operated since two years prior as a branch of the Assemblea do Povo Unido (APU), a breakaway faction of the Frente Popular Galego (FPG). FPG itself had connections to various dissenting groups from UPG in the late 1980s. A decade later, Galician Resistance emerged from AMI. In 2001, AMI joined forces with other organisations, notably the communist Primeira Linha (PL), to form Nós-Unidade Popular (Nós-UP), from which members later contributed to RG. These groups are part of the Galician National Liberation Movement (MLNG), which also includes sectorial militant groups—such as those advocating feminism, ecology, sports, language preservation, youth, civil rights, student activism, and trade unionism—that maintain close ties with similar organisations within the Basque, Catalan, Asturian, and Castilian independence movements. (5)


The MLNG's terrorist escalation predates the emergence of Resistência Galega. Since 2001, the most radical members of AMI, Nós-UP, AGIR, and BRIGA—student and youth factions within the movement—have engaged in a violent campaign, seeking to mirror the street terrorism seen in the Basque Country. (3) The final attack attributed to RG took place in 2014 at the City Hall of Baralla, where the Popular Party held power, causing substantial material damage. (5,6)


The arrest of the remaining leaders Toninho and his partner, Asunción Losada Camba, in 2019, marked the downfall of the organisation. They had been fugitives for 13 years, residing in an abandoned farmhouse in the municipality of Fornelos (Pontevedra). Following their apprehension, the two leaders accepted a sentence of 28 years and 3 months in prison after admitting to the crimes they were charged with, resulting in reduced sentences. (3,6)


Objectives and Ideology


The ideological stance of Resistência Galega centres on asserting the national sovereignty of the Galician people within a far-left ideology. RG hasn’t elaborated extensively ideologically or theoretically. There have only been two documents in which the group has expressed its thinking and its project of armed struggle. (5)


The first document was the previously mentioned Manifesto, published in 2005. The second one would be published in October 2011. The ideological arguments expressed in both are very similar, the main innovation of the second one being its affirmation of the validity of terrorism as a form of struggle for the achievement of pro-independence objectives. (1)


The starting point of the group’s ideology, corresponds to the affirmation of the national character of Galicia and the longing of itself. The first manifesto, states:


 "We have the collective will and determination to assert our right to exist as a people ... taking pride in our identity(...) We are a nation ... a collective subjectivity formed by free citizens in a sovereign Galicia that built generation after generation a warp and tradition of struggle ... The Galician people are not an abstract concept, a metaphysical entity ... (since) national identity is always forged in a historical time and in a territorial space in the presence of socioeconomic, political and environmental catalysts." (1)


Later on, the document states the decadence of the Galician people and land brought by Spain’s nationalist oppression. “Spanish democratic normality is a historical fact that administers our death as a nation, preventing needs from becoming realities, historically frustrating the desire and need for sovereignty.”


In the second manifesto, this idea is further enforced, talking about Spain as “aggressors of their land” who have only taken the “(Galician) working class into desperation” RG further identifies the Spanish nation as rooted in the Francoist dictatorship who hasn’t evolved into a democratic state and which police forces are “a criminal network seated on (a) gigantic electoral machinery that is proof against great failures, and with its knives always sharpened, has been marking the destinies of our nation with blood and fire.” (2)


After naming the issues and establishing their ideas, RG advocates for cultural, economical, political and illegal resistance as a remedy. This illegal resistance, includes the use of armed force as part of a broader political and social spectrum, which would be more directly addressed in their second manifesto, making a correlation with the group’s attacks and their economic impact to the state, with a warning for their future actions: 

“The enemies of our land must know that Galicia is neither sold nor destroyed, that the Galician people do not submit. If they are committed to the opposite, they should stick to the consequences.”

As a closing of their second manifesto, RG writes:


ADIANTE A RESISTÊNCIA GALEGA

GALIZA CEIVE, PODER POPULAR

ANTES MORTOS QUE ESCRAVOS


FORWARD OF THE GALICIAN RESISTANCE

A FREE GALICIA, POPULAR POWER

BETTER DEAD THAN SLAVES (2)



Military/Political Abilities


Since its inception, RG has claimed terrorism as a tactic, but it wasn't until six years later, with the publication of its second manifesto, that it emphasised its revolutionary effectiveness. 


However, RG's advocacy for terrorism is solely practical; it has never articulated a theory advocating for the subordination of political or cultural actions to armed struggle. RG appears as one more among the organisations integrated under the umbrella of the political party OLN, each of which exercises a specialised function. RG has positioned terrorism alongside other forms of political combat within the pro-independence movement. Despite this, the intention to use violence to energise these actions is hinted at in the first manifesto and made explicit in the second. Criticising pro-independence forces that oppose terrorism, RG suggests that Galician independence gains strength when all forms of struggle are intelligently combined, including armed tactics. (5)



Approach to Resistance


"The personal and social costs of armed struggle ... are infinitely lighter than those of disarmament and compliance with the rules imposed on us ... Without conflict there is no change, no future."


The approach to resistance of the RG was mainly focused at offices and headquarters of the Popular Party (PP). Their acts tend to be handmade explosives placed or thrown at different objects or establishments, being predominant the political parties’ headquarters, banks, public offices, or the homes of public figures. These attacks are normally intended to only cause material damage. The 137 attacks registered from 2005 to 2013 have left six wounded and one premeditated death, that of an ex militant of AMI. (3)


It's important to mention that the RG typically doesn't admit to carrying out its attacks. Additionally, concerning the resources utilised by the terrorist group, it's worth noting that the RG has turned to theft to acquire explosives. Specifically, two robberies in Portugal in 2008 resulted in over 26,000 euros worth of stolen goods being attributed to them. Apart from theft for the group’s finances, there have also been donations by nationalist supporters exposed.


The data from the attacks shows that a third of them target various types of companies, with banking institutions being the most common targets, followed by infrastructure and construction companies, as well as real estate companies. Political parties, trade unions, and employers' associations have also been systematically targeted, often resulting in severe destruction. About one fifth of the attacks are directed at specific individuals, including political representatives, but frequently targeting prominent figures in civic movements against nationalist interests. Lastly, less frequent actions include symbolic gestures, such as burning national flags in illegal demonstrations, attacks on public offices (typically courts or employment offices), and the destruction of municipal facilities.


International Relations & Alliances


According to the Spanish Guardia Civil, RG has maintained relations with other Spanish organisations such as ETA and GRAPO, through public support and intel exchange with reported contact between the Basques.(10) There were investigations of the regrouping of revolutionary youth from ETA to RG following the dissolution of the former group. (9)

RG also maintained political relations and military training through Jarrai, ETA's most aggressive youth movement, and pro-Palestinian people who gave them courses in the area of Monforte and Cangas do Morraz. (11)


The Prosecutor's Office after the arrest of the remaining leaders in 2019, stated that despite the ineffective illegalization of Causa Galiza in December 2016, the organisation continued to engage in specific activities aimed at supporting members of Resistencia Galega and past terrorist groups associated with it. These activities included campaigns supporting individuals like María Osorio López, convicted of terrorism in 2013, as well as events commemorating Galicia Day on July 25 and Día da Galiza Combatente on October 11. The prosecutor also highlighted Causa Galiza's collaboration with radical and violent independentist groups at the national level, expressing support and solidarity with their causes(12), such as GRAPO and Grupos Anarquistas Coordinados.



Works Cited

(1) - First Manifesto da Resistência Galega can be seen at http://www.midiaindependente.org/eo/red/2005/07/323584.shtml.


(2) - The second manifesto is titled: Segundo Manifesto pola Resistência Galega y puede consultarse en http://www.galiciaconfidencial.com/nova/8610.html.

  

(3) - Aguilar Gutierrez, M. (2023): “Terrorismo Independista en Galicia” https://www.memorialvt.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/FCMVTinforme13_230122.pdf


(4) - Europa Press (2013): “La fiscalía acusa por primera vez de terrorismo a Resistencia Gallega”, El Mundo.es, 21 de Marzo https://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2013/03/21/espana/1363891113.html


(5) - Buesa, M. (2013): RESISTENCIA GALLEGA: UNA ORGANIZACIÓN TERRORISTA EMERGENTE (https://docta.ucm.es/rest/api/core/bitstreams/45ecec44-7e09-4b13-8009-1d37a287eeb7/conten)


(6) - Galvez, JJ. (2022): La Audiencia procesa a dos líderes de Resistencia Galega por el último atentado de la banda (https://elpais.com/espana/2022-12-02/la-audiencia-procesa-a-dos-lideres-de-resistencia-galega-por-el-ultimo-atentado-de-la-banda.html)


(7) - Tedó, J. (2023)  ¿Quiénes son Resistência Galega, el único grupo que el Estado considera terrorista aparte de ETA?https://es.ara.cat/politica/moncloa/son-resistencia-galega-unico-grupo-considera-terrorista-aparte-eta_1_4813364.html


(8) - Pérez, F. (2019) Resistência Galega, un concepto https://www.elsaltodiario.com/represion/historia-resistencia-galega-un-concepto


(9) - P. M. J. (2019) Así cayó Resistencia Galega, el último grupo terrorista activo en España https://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/galicia/2019/06/17/detencion-toninho-final-unico-grupo-terrorista-activo-espana/00031560791012237621780.htm


(10) - Fernandez. D (2007) Alerta en Galicia por contactos entre ETA y el grupo Resistencia Galega https://www.20minutos.es/noticia/263597/0/galicia/resistencia/galega/


(11) - Abet. P / Pérez. E (2012) Los líderes de Resistencia Galega recibieron doctrina militar sobre el uso de explosivos https://www.abc.es/espana/galicia/abci-resistencia-galega-explosivos-201206140000_noticia.html?ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.abc.es%2Fespana%2Fgalicia%2Fabci-resistencia-galega-explosivos-201206140000_noticia.html


(12) - La Voz Redacción (2020) Los acusados de ensalzar a Resistencia Galega alegan que nadie decidía cómo organizar sus actos https://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/galicia/2020/10/19/l-os-12-independentistas-acusados-ensalzar-resistencia-galega-alegan-decidia-organizar-actos/00031603113556963469464.htm



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