What explains Argentina's recurrent failure to consolidate a democratic political system? This political puzzle has engaged scholars for decades, producing a number of explanations. James W. McGuire suggests that Peronism's self-definition as a movement rather than a party has been a key source of Argentina's instability. He sets out to show that Juan Peron's legacy of "movementism" and indifference to party building led to weak institutionalization of the Peronist party, with negative implications for consolidation of Argentine democracy. McGuire presents a detailed analysis of the intricacies of politics in the Peronist trade unions and in several incarnations of the Peronist party within the broader tapestry of Argentine twentieth-century history. Peron and today Carlos Menem, McGuire asserts, have preferred to use personalistic control, "balancing" strategies, and the resources of loyal unions and the state rather than party structures to carry out political projects and dispense patronage, in order to solidify their own political dominance and prevent opportunities for rivals to gain independent power. Only when Peron was abroad, between the mid-1950s and early 1970s, did party-building projects by powerful new figures (such as Augusto Vandor of the Metalworkers Union) commence, producing the beginnings of routinization and institutionalization of Peronism.
"In Argentina, a type of populist politics, based on a coalition of urban labor and other social groups, emerged by the mid-1940's under the charismatic leadership of Juan Peron. For the first time the mobilization of the urban working class became a major factor in the country's political life, though only with the toleration of the army. Peronism began with the 1943 revolution, with a document written by General Juan Domingo Peron. In fact, it was written in barely 14 minutes because he believed that "proclamations must be felt, not thought .
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