Focusing on the relatively open political era known as the Populist Republic of 1945 to 1964, French illustrates the glaring contrast between the generosity of the CLT's legal promises and the meager justice meted out in workplaces, government ministries, and labor courts. He argues that the law, from the outset, was more an ideal than a set of enforceable regulations – there was no intention on the part of leaders and bureaucrats to actually practice what was promised, yet workers seized on the CLT's utopian premises while attacking its systemic flaws. In the end, French says, the labor laws became "real" in the workplace only to the extent that workers struggled to turn the imaginary ideal into reality.
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