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Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/39

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the Supreme Court to five years' imprisonment at hard labour. He was pardoned in 1875, however, and on his release he immediately resumed his activities. But his day of glory as a leader was over. The workmen had now learned how to manage their own affairs through their newly organized trade unions. At a Convention in 1876 they founded The Social-Democratic Labour Party, which was to carry on the work of The International under the direction of a committee of nine members. Pio, in recognition of his activities as the originator of the movement, was placed at the head of this committee, but he nevertheless felt disappointed and slighted, and consequently lacked the self-reliance necessary to carry on the struggle under the difficult conditions then existing in Denmark. During the first few years after the Franco-German War labour conditions had been surprisingly good. Several strikes had been successfully carried through and had led to increased wages and other improvements. Co-operative societies had also been instituted, but they were successful for only a short time. The world crisis of 1873, which brought the period of prosperity to an end, dealt a severe blow to Denmark, where it was followed by a long period of economic depression. Workmen tried in vain during the last of the seventies to organize strikes. Several trade unions were dissolved and others had only an ephemeral existence.

The circumstances confronting Pio after his release were therefore anything but favourable, and in the spring of 1877 he left Denmark. To his party his departure seemed treachery to the cause, and in reality he failed his cause and was induced by the police to leave the country. His death, in 1894, brought his checkered and troubled career to an end.

Development of the Labour Movement

In the meantime the labour movement in Denmark lingered along sluggishly. It was not long, however, before it received a fresh impetus. In the eighties the trade unions began to flourish. They aimed at first at higher wages, which were to