I hope some of the folks who’ve participating in the endless Internet circle jerk over “neoliberalism,” especially from a specifically pro-union perspective, will address this issue since it’s a newsworthy issue on which America’s labor unions have been strongly backing the centrist side of the argument over left-wing objections to the merger. That makes it an interesting test case that, I think, separates the idea of hostility to neoliberalism from hostility to pro-corporate selloutery. It also highlights the fact that many practical political issues in the United States don’t pit “workers” against “owners” or “managers” but rather pit firm against firm or sector against sector. There are some issues on which the interests of the Communications Workers of America differ from the interests of the owners and managers of AT&T, but there are also many issues on which their interests are perfectly aligned.
I think when I tried to raise this issue as it pertained to craft beer, I wound up coming across as unduly accusatory and prompted a lot of unproductive responses. So to put the issue as clearly as possible, I wonder if adherents to an anti-neoliberal theory of progressive politics believe the right thing for President Obama to do is to consider the pro-labor benefits of the merger to be an independent argument in favor of the merger that deserves weight alongside other issues. The CWA has an argument on the merits about this that I think isn’t crazy, but the question that I think is philosophically interesting is whether the labor angle deserves consideration apart from the “official” argument about anti-trust economics.
UPDATE: Here’s the CWA’s official statement on the DOJ news, and on AT&T’s promise to do some “insourcing” to the tune of 5,000 jobs returning to American shores if the merger goes through.