Groupe union défense

The Groupe union défense (Defense Group Union), better known by the acronym GUD, is a French far-right student organization known for its violent actions, particularly active in the 1970s.

In decline since the 1980s, the movement is trying to make a comeback in 2011 under the name of the "Union de défense de la jeunesse" (Youth Defense Union), for example on the campus of the University Paris II Panthéon Assas.1

In 2017 it merged with the newly founded Bastion Social.

History

The GUD was created in December 1968 at the Assas University Center of the Faculty of Law of Paris under the name of Union Droit, then Groupe union Droit, by former militants of the movement Occident (Alain Robert, Gerard Longuet, Robert Allo, Gerard Écorcheville, Hugues Leclère, Jack Marchal, Jean-Noël Prade) following its dissolution on October 31 of the same year.

The GUD established itself during its first years of existence as the main militant faction of the extreme right in France (and practically the only one in 1969). Subsequently, with the emergence of structured nationalist movements such as the Ordre Nouveau, it took a more and more marginal place, all the more so with the electoral successes of the National Front in the 1980s.

Le Monde announced the re-founding of the GUD as Bastion Social.2 The question remains whether the latter does not rather function as the political arm of the GUD.

Chronology

  • December 1968: creation at the University Center of Assas Street (Paris Faculty of Law ) for the student elections of February 1969. The acronym GUD initially meant "Groupe Union Droit".
  • October 1969: participates in the creation of the Ordre Nouveau movement.
  • November 28, 1972: GUD leaders Patrice Janeau and Michel Bodin, opposed to the rapprochement of Ordre Nouveau with Jean-Marie Le Pen in order to create the National Front, leave to form the Groupe action jeunesse with dissidents of Ordre Nouveau. An alternative management team immediately takes over.
  • 1974: the GUD undergoes a time of competition with the GAJ, and is on the verge of disappearing before being reborn during the spring.
  • November 9, 1974: becomes the student movement of the Parti des forces nouvelles (NFP).
  • June 17, 1981: official dissolution after the electoral victory of François Mitterrand.
  • Fall 1981: the GUD is reconstituted at the Assas center at the initiative of a new team of students led by Charles-Henri Varaut and Richard Rougé. Will participate later in the creation of the Renouveau nationaliste [ref. needed] .
  • May 1983: the GUD is at the center of the strikes and demonstrations against the reform of the socialist minister Savary; the press then speaks of a "May 68 in reverse".
  • 1984: approaches the Mouvement nationaliste révolutionnaire (MNR) of Jean-Gilles Malliarakis.
  • 1985: becomes the student organization of the MNR while the Young Guard is its high school branch.
  • November 9, 1985: participates in the foundation of Troisième Voie.
  • May 7, 1988: GUD breaks with Troisième Voie.
  • December 29, 1988: is reconstituted under the name Union de défense des étudiants d'Assas (UDEA) (a year later, Union for the defense of Parisian students).
  • 1993: moves closer to the Front national de la jeunesse and the National Front.
  • 1994: the GUD organizes a demonstration in Paris under the slogan "Welcome to the enemies of Europe!" to protest the announced NATO bombing of Serbia. The rally, planned at the Place Denfert-Rochereau, is forbidden, the police encircles and the demonstrators are beaten with batons, which led to the arrest of more than one hundred people. Among those who manage to escape, Sebastien Deyzieu, 22, is pursued over 1,200 m by plainclothes police, trying to take refuge in the building at 4, rue des Chartreux (not far from the Assas center) and falls from the 5th floor leading to his death.
  • 1995: participates in the presidential campaign of Jean-Marie Le Pen. Benoît Fleury becomes the Assas leader from 19953 to 2000.4
  • June 1998: participates in the creation of Unité radicale, then publishes Le Rongeur masqué, then Jusqu'à nouvel ordre.
  • December 1998: during the split of the Front National the provincial GUDs, controlled by Unité Radicale, support Bruno Mégret. The Paris section shows its reluctance by putting forward the slogan "Neither glass eye nor heel! ". It will participate, on February 4, 1999, in the creation of a "Front de la jeunesse".
  • Autumn 1999: creates the Union de défense des étudiants et lycéens. Following legal proceedings, Benoît Fleury retired from the presidency in favor of Gaëtan Dirand, who succeeded him in 2000.5
  • 2004-2009: GUD activists spend several years "immersed" inside the Rassemblement étudiant de droite, alongside elements from other groups.
  • October 28, 2009: The newspaper Minute announces the reactivation of the GUD, scheduled for the end of 2009.6
  • February 2010: students distribute leaflets "GUD is Back" at the University of Assas.7
  • Fall 2011: a section of Lyons GUD is launched by Steven Bissuel. Very active since September 2011,8 it is mainly located at the University Jean-Moulin-Lyon-III . With his growing influence in lycees in the Lyon and Paris regions, Steven Bissuel took over the acronym for the union initially set up by Ordre nouveau in 19709 and founded the Union des lycéens nationalistes (ULN).
  • September 2011: following a demonstration against the return of Bruno Gollnisch at Lyon3 University and where the GUD is present to support the professor, two far-left militants are assaulted.10 Steven Bissuel will be sentenced to two months in prison because he has been recognized as the perpetrator of the attack.
  • At the beginning of 2012, journalists from Le Monde reported a rapprochement between certain members of the GUD and the youth section of Front National.11
  • March 2012: The GUD gets 3.4% of the votes in the student elections of Assas via its list the UDJ. The day of the elections is marked by the presence of about 40 militants of the GUD and two left militants.12
  • October 2012: return of the GUD to Nancy after 12 years of absence;13 the press reports several clashes, including a stabbing, on campus and nearby.14
  • April 2013: GUD Nancy calls for violence against homosexuals by an explicit image posted on a social network. The association Inter-LGBT files a complaint for incitement to hatred and violence.15 The University of Nancy does the same in May of the same year because of "derogatory behaviour ascribed to the GUD" and "tags [which] are clearly marked by racist and homophobic hatred, in the context of the debates on the law on marriage for all," according to the university spokesperson, and posters encouraging the hitting of homosexuals who have been posted on the campus; these homophobic acts are also condemned by the Minister of Higher Education Geneviève Fioraso. In June, the mayor of Nancy, André Rossinot, declared himself "concerned by the recrudescence of hate calls and invitations to violence on the Facebook page of the GUD of Nancy, (where) one notes the presence of contents with openly racist, homophobic, and antisemitic content "and asks Facebook to close this page, while the board of directors of the University of Lorraine adopts a motion" strongly condemning acts (aggression, degradations, discriminatory inscriptions, homophobic threats) that have recently taken place on its campuses "under the banner of the Union Defense Group (GUD)". In August 2013: following these complaints, an activist of GUD Nancy, responsible for the Facebook page of "GUD Nancy" also participating in anti-Semitic slogans, is arrested and placed in police custody.
  • June 2013: two members of the GUD are sentenced, one to 1 year and the other to 6 months in prison, for inciting violence and racism, on June 17, 2013 in Lyon. Two years after this first trial, a third "Gudard", is sentenced to six months in prison for his participation in the aggression, a sentence ultimately suspended.
  • October 2013: opening of a extreme right-wing bar in Paris called Crab-Tambour (in reference to Pierre Guillaume, former of the OAS) in the 15th arrondissement of Paris by Logan Djian, now closed.
  • November 2014: A European congress organized by the GUD is held in Nanterre. It hosts foreign radical nationalists like Konstantinos Boviatsis of Golden Dawn (Greece) , Hervé Van Laethem of the Belgian Nation Movement, Jordi de la Fuente of the Spanish Republican Social Movement, and with French guests Roland Hélie of Synthèse National as well as Arnaud de Robert, the spokesperson of the Mouvement d'Action sociale.
  • November 4, 2014: the Lyon Criminal Court imposes five years in prison on two individuals close to the GUD, for "aggravated violence in a state of recidivism and carrying prohibited weapons" committed against a couple on January 15, 2011 in Villeurbanne. Six other defendants are sentenced to shorter sentences ranging from three years to 12 months, including for non-assistance to persons in danger.
  • January 2015: Two activists of GUD Nancy are sentenced to 8 months and 6 months of suspended imprisonment for having deployed a hateful homophobic banner during the LGBT Pride March 31, 2014.
  • March 2015, the local union of the Confédération nationale du travail (labour union) in Metz is vandalized by militants claiming to be from the GUD.
  • March 31, 2016: during the demonstrations against the "El Khomri" law, the militants of the GUD confront the demonstrators in front of the faculty Lyons 3 which, according to the slogan of the day, wanted to block all universities and the lycées.
  • June 2015, the permanence of the PCF Gentilly is vandalized by people leaving a signature of the GUD.
  • July 9, 2015: arrest of five people close to the GUD for an assault committed against three people of African descent on the night of June 5 to 6, 2015 in front of the Boston Café, a night club at Place des Terreaux in Lyon.
  • October 2015: After the assault on 8 October 2015 against a former GUD official, the president of GUD Logan Djian is indicted for "aggravated violence". Placed on remand, Logan Djian is released on 13 November against the payment of a deposit of 25,000 euros.
  • July 8, 2016: Logan Djian, president of the GUD since 2012, is sentenced to 1 year in prison for the assault of a journalist during a demonstration of "La Manif pour tous" in 2013. Wanted by the police, he is finally imprisoned on 1 December 2017 at the Lyon Corbas prison.
  • The far-right bar "Le Pavillon Noir", which serves as a GUD meeting place, is opened in Lyon by Steven Bissuel.
  • May 27, 2017: Bastion Social, the successor group to the GUD, occupies a building located at 18 rue Port-du-Temple in the 2nd arrondissement of Lyon. This building is called "social bastion" by the militants who occupy it. Steven Bissuel, who chairs the movement of the same name, emphasizes the themes of nationalist preference and the slogan "us before the others." The latter purports revolutionary nationalism and does not hide being inspired by Casa Pound.
  • June 13, 2017: the evictio is ordered from the building that the Social Bastion had occupied for three weeks.
  • December 9, 2017: the GUD, having voluntarily dissolved into the "Social Bastion", opens a bar in Strasbourg called Arcadia which serves as a place to prepare their actions as they did in Lyon, Chambéry and Aix-en-Provence. The same evening, two people who participated in the inauguration of the local were arrested for an assault and sentenced: one to 8 months in prison and the other to 6 months and a  500 € fine.
  • January 18, 2018: Former GUD president Logan Djian (already in prison for another violent case) is sentenced to two months in prison suspended by the Paris Criminal Court for having attacked nine Femen activists, as well as photographer and essayist Caroline Fourest, during a protest against "Mariage pour tous" on 18 November 2012.
  • March 16, 2018: a dozen members of the GUD enter the Lycée Autogéré de Paris, armed with iron bars. They insult students and teachers, make Nazi salutes and throw projectiles against the windows of the establishment. Two students are slightly injured, and the institution filed complaints.
  • December 1, 2018: members of the GUD and Zouaves Paris participate in clashes with the police during Yellow Vests demonstrations. A brawl between Gudards and antifascists takes at Place de l'Etoile; the GUD wins, while the antifascists have many of their militants wounded.
  • On December 7, 2018, 4 members of the GUD Paris, a member of the Bastion Social Strasbourg (former GUD Alsace) and a member of the Social Bastion Lyon (former GUD Lyon) are arrested by the BRI for acts of insults and violence against law enforcement and anti-fascist militants on 1 December 2018 during Act III of the Yellow Vests. Five of them are released, the last is placed in pre-trial detention. They are tried on January 9 and receive prison sentences or suspended sentences.

(For references see French Wikipedia article https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupe_union_défense)

Presidents

    1968-? : Alain Robert
    1972: Patrice Janeau
    1972-1973: Bernard Houdin
    1973-1974: Roland Poynard
    1974-1975: Gilles Soulas
    1975-1976: Philippe Péninque
    1976-?: Jean-François Santacroce
    1981-1983: dormant of the GUD
    1983-?: Fabrice Saulais, said Arnaud Lutin
    ? -?: Frederic Pichon
    1988: Christophe Pierre
    1988-1991: William Bonnefoy
    1991-1995: Frédéric Chatillon
    1995-1998: Guillaume Coudry
    1998-2000: Benoît Fleury
    2000-2002: Gaëtan Dirand
    2002-2009: putting the GUD to sleep
    2009-2012: Édouard Klein
    2012-2015: Logan Djian
    2015-2017: Steven Bissuel (on Lyon)
    2017: GUD goes dormant in favor of the Social Bastion

Ideology

Initially, the ideological positioning of the GUD was in the continuity of the movement Occident, that is to say based on a French nationalism without particular characterics (neither pro- nor anti-Christian, neither pro- nor anti-European, etc.) avoiding alienation amongst the liberal-conservative tendencies strongly represented among law and economics students. During the 1970s, the GUD more or less followed the orientations of the movements to which it was supposed to be affiliated (successively Ordre Nouveau, Front National, Faire Front, Parti des forces nouvelles), not without sometimes challenging them, and by trying to win them for trade union actions focused on anti-leftist combat.

The GUD began to become more ideologically oriented with the 1980s by placing itself more and more in the perspective of revolutionary nationalism, gradually abandoning the trade union focus to become a political movement, while drawing on its margins of more and more activists (high school and / or young active). This evolution first brought it closer to the Mouvement nationaliste révolutionnaire and then Troisième Voie, but then again away from these organizations, as the "Gudards" affirmed their specificity and felt able to rely on their own strengths.

During the 1990s, the GUD brought together different sensitivities of opposition and ideal membership: European regionalism, celebration of anti-imperialist guerrillas, anti-Americanism, anti-Zionism (clashes against Jewish far-right groups such as the LDJ and the Betar), and neopaganism. Subsequently, the early 2000s were marked by an unexpected rise  of traditionalist Catholic elements such as the Garde franque .
Financing

The GUD finds its first funding by providing security services for the presidential campaign of Georges Pompidou in 1969.16 They also served as security guards for the presidential campaigns of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1974 and 1981, and that of Raymond Barre in 1988.16

According to the newspaper L'Humanité in 2012, Syria financed GUD books and campaigns.17