The Groupe Union Défense ("Defense Group Union"), better known by the acronym GUD, is a French far-right student grouping known for its violent actions, which was particularly active in the 1970s.
In decline since the 1980s, the group was 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, the "Youth Defense Union" merged with the newly founded Bastion Social ("Social Bastion").
The GUD emerged in December 1968 at the Faculty of Law of the University Paris II Panthéon-Assas under the name of Union Droit, later Groupe Union Droit. Initially it consisted of former militants of the far-right Occident movement (Alain Robert, Gerard Longuet, Robert Allo, Gerard Écorcheville, Hugues Leclère, Jack Marchal, Jean-Noël Prade), following Occident's dissolution on October 31 of the same year.
During its first years of existence, the GUD established itself as the main militant faction of the extreme right in France (and practically the only one in 1969). Subsequently, with the emergence of other 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.
The GUD received its first funding by providing security services for the presidential campaign of Georges Pompidou in 1969.2 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 1988.2
In 2017, Le Monde announced the re-founding of the GUD as Bastion Social.3 The question remains whether the latter does not rather function as the political arm of the GUD.
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 characteristics (neither pro- nor anti-Christian, neither pro- nor anti-European, etc.) avoiding alienation among 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 supposedly affiliated (successively Ordre Nouveau, Front National, Faire Front, Parti des forces nouvelles), not without sometimes challenging them, including steering them towards anti-leftist combat, particularly against trade unions.
The GUD began to become more ideologically oriented in the 1980s by identifying more and more with revolutionary nationalism, gradually abandoning the focus on trade unions towards the formation of a political movement, with the effect of drawing more activists, particularly young people and students, into its orbit. 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.
According to the newspaper L'Humanité in 2012, GUD books and campaigns were financed with funds from Syria.4
- 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 19955 to 2000.6
- 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 2000.7
- 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 2009.8
- February 2010: students distribute leaflets "GUD is Back" at the University of Assas.9
- Fall 2011: Around September 2011, Steven Bissuel founded a section of the GUD in Lyon, which was mainly active at the University Jean-Moulin-Lyon-III.10 With its growing influence among students in the Lyon and Paris regions, Bissuel named the group Union des lycéens nationalistes (ULN), taking over the acronym of a group initially set up by the Ordre nouveau in 1970.11
- 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.12 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.13
- 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.14
- May 13, 2012: A large demonstration of GUD members takes place in Lyon, whose local chapter is led by Steven Bissuel.
- October 2012: return of the GUD to Nancy after 12 years of absence;15 the press reports several clashes, including a stabbing, on campus and nearby.16
- 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.17 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 Gianluca Iannone of CasaPound. French guests included Roland Hélie of Synthèse National as well as Arnaud de Robert, the spokesperson of the Mouvement d'Action sociale.18
Sébastien de Boëldieu, Gianluca Iannone of CasaPound, and Konstantinos Boviatsis of Golden Dawn
- 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, GUD's successor, 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 CasaPound.
- 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.
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 (in Lyon)
2017: GUD goes dormant in favor of Bastion Social
- 1. Philippe Romain, "Élections à Assas: le GUD tente de reprendre pied," Le Figaro, March 28, 2012, http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2012/03/28/01016-20120328ARTFIG00495-elections-a-assas-le-gud-tente-de-reprendre-pied.php.
- 2. a. b. Nicolas Lebourg, "Panama Papers: derrière les soupçons autour du FN, le monde violent du GUD," Slate, April 5, 2016, http://www.slate.fr/story/116375/panama-papers-voyage-coeur-gud.
- 3. Lucie Soullier et Abel Mestre, "Universités : extrême droite et extrême gauche s’affrontent," Le Monde, April 10, 2018, https://www.lemonde.fr/politique/article/2018/04/10/deblocage-contre-blocus-des-universites-l-extreme-droite-et-l-extreme-gauche-s-affrontent_5283363_823448.html.
- 4. "Syrie: l'extrême droite française en campagne pour Assad," L'Humanité, March 5, 2012, https://www.humanite.fr/politique/syrie-lextreme-droite-francaise-en-campagne-pour-assad-491525.
- 5. Luc Cédelle, "Université de Poitiers : tollé contre l'arrivée d'un ex-dirigeant du GUD," Le Monde, February 26, 2008, https://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2008/02/26/universite-de-poitiers-tolle-contre-l-arrivee-d-un-ex-dirigeant-du-gud_1015799_3224.html.
- 6. Renaud Dély, Histoire secrète du Front national, Grasset, 1999.
- 7. "Bêtes et méchants: petite histoire des jeunes fascistes français," Réseau no pasaran, Éditions Reflex, 2002.
- 8. Minute, no 2432.
- 9. Olivier Faye, "'Gud is back' à Assas?," Le Monde Blog, February 17, 2010, http://droites-extremes.blog.lemonde.fr/2010/02/17/gud-is-back-a-assas/.
- 10. Emmanuelle Sautot, "La rentrée agitée du professeur Gollnisch," Lyon Capitale, September 15, 2011, https://www.lyoncapitale.fr/videos/la-rentree-agitee-du-professeur-gollnisch/.
- 11. Joseph Beauregard, Nicolas Lebourg and Jonathan Preda, "Aux racines du FN. L’histoire du mouvement Ordre nouveau," Fondation Jean Jaurés, 2014.
- 12. Emmanuelle Sautot, Thomas Bernardi, "La rentrée agitée du professeur Gollnisch," Lyon Capitale, September 15, 2011, https://www.lyoncapitale.fr/videos/la-rentree-agitee-du-professeur-gollnisch/.
- 13. Olivier Faye, "Quand les jeunes « marinistes » s’affichent avec le GUD," Le Monde Blog, February 19, 2012, http://droites-extremes.blog.lemonde.fr/2012/02/19/quand-les-jeunes-marinistes-saffichent-avec-le-gud/.
- 14. Robin D'Angelo, "3,4% : Le score du Gud aux élections étudiantes à Assas," Street Press, March 28, 2012, https://www.streetpress.com/sujet/25647-3-4-le-score-du-gud-aux-elections-etudiantes-a-assas.
- 15. Assma Maad, "Le GUD fait son retour sur les campus de Nancy," Le Figaro, October 16, 2012, http://www.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2012/10/16/01016-20121016ARTFIG00325-le-gud-fait-son-retour-sur-les-campus-de-nancy.php.
- 16. "Université à Nancy: agressions: a l'arme blanche liees a l'extrême droite," Lor'Actu, http://archive.wikiwix.com/cache/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.loractu.fr%2Fnancy%2F2400-universite-a-nancy-agressions-a-l-arme-blanche-liees-a-l-extreme-droite.html.
- 17. "À Nancy, le GUD appelle à tabasser les homosexuels," Le Figaro Étudiants, April 15, 2013, https://etudiant.lefigaro.fr/les-news/actu/detail/article/a-nancy-le-gud-appelle-a-tabasser-les-homosexuels-1690/.
- 18. Daniel Dova, "Le jour où extrême droite et néonazis européens se sont réunis à Nanterre," December 13, 2014, Nouvel Observateur, https://www.nouvelobs.com/rue89/rue89-politique/20141213.RUE7016/le-jour-ou-extreme-droite-et-neonazis-europeens-se-sont-reunis-a-nanterre.html.