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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/38

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN DENMARK

of their own livelihood. Conditions were a little better in 1882, as shown by a report for Copenhagen. The average daily wage for an unskilled workman was then 2.37 kroner ($0.64); for a journeyman, 3 kroner ($0.80). Somewhat more might be earned by piece-workers; and as the price of food was decreasing, some progress had been made even though wages were still lamentably low. On the whole, however, it may be said that the new period had not begun very auspiciously.

Beginnings of the Danish Labour Movement

As has been said before, the workmen, now that the guild system was abolished, had no organization to fall back on. The government manifested no special interest in their welfare, and the soil was consequently fertile for labour agitation. Nor did the workmen of Denmark lack intercourse with the rest of the world; not a few of them, indeed, had lived many years abroad mostly in Germany, in spite of the mutual ill will engendered by the war of 1864.

It was especially the rise of the Commune in Paris, fore-doomed as it was, which kindled the fire in Denmark. For some time, however, it was not Danish workmen themselves, but men outside their ranks, who carried the torch. The leader in this first period of Danish socialism was Louis Pio (1841-1894), who had become strongly imbued with socialistic ideas and had propounded them in some pamphlets published in 1871 and later in the weekly paper Socialisten (The Socialist). In the same year he organized a branch of The International Working Men's Association (founded in London, 1864), which soon embraced a considerable number of members. In his positive proposals he was not particularly radical; but his speeches were defiant and provocative and caused a great stir among the upper classes. When he, in a stirring article, entitled 'The Cup is Full', called a public meeting for May 5, 1872, he and his associates were arrested and charged with inciting revolt. The Danish branch of The International was abolished, and Pio was sentenced by