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That 18,000 people--mostly female--filled Madison Square Garden, a basilica of boy-sport theology, on February 10 to watch a celebrity-packed performance of The Vagina Monologues represents a slightly less staggering achievement than a women's takeover of the Vatican or the Chabad Lubavitcher world headquarters. The show was the capper to a daylong international event called V-Day: The Gathering to End Violence Against Women, during which sixty women from six continents presented stop-rape strategies. What was most remarkable about these projects was their insistence not simply on shielding women but on permanently and radically altering how communities talk about rape and deal with rapists. In the evening, the most arresting image was that of an Afghan woman, obliterated by her burqa, moving like a silent, anonymous hill of cloth toward the stage. When the cloth was lifted, a young woman emerged, dressed in the casual jacket-and-pants outfit that would blend in on any university campus in the world, but that her own country's Taliban movement would deem reason enough to beat her to death on the spot.

Those who endeavor to dismiss events like V-Day as pageants of single-issue identity politics are missing the point. The reports of sequestering of Vietnamese women in a Korean-owned sweatshop in American Samoa, where they were fed cabbage water, housed forty to a rat-infested room and kept under the thumb of sexual predators, is a reminder that at the very bottom of the "race to the bottom" economy, there's always a room where women are locked, overseen by a male with the power to starve them and to demand blowjobs in return for allowing them to keep working.

Labor organizations like UNITE and the Hotel and Restaurant Employees now understand that feminist issues like sweatshops, comparable worth for women, sexual harassment and education provide the vital pathway toward the expansion and revitalization of their movement. But events like V-Day make an even broader point: Vigorous global feminism is perhaps the single most effective form of resistance to the systematic degradation of human rights standards worldwide, which makes possible the worst ravages of the transnational economy.

The evidence of these depredations abounds. In London, girls as young as 5, purchased as slaves from Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe, are imprisoned in flats where they are rented to businessmen. Since NAFTA's inception, more than 200 young Mexican women have been raped and murdered on their way home from working in maquiladoras. V-Day's insistence on a worldwide confrontation of the systems that allow such atrocities kicks open a door for all manner of liberation activists. It's harder to imagine a single greater threat to the global sweatshop economy than the systematic pursuit of the rights of women.

Radio station WBAI is under attack from within in order to silence radical dissent.

New recounts show that the wrong man is in the Oval Office.

The Bush Administration's health policies for Africa basically amount to the moral equivalent of the death penalty for 25 million people.

With a more prudish administration assuming office, pornographers are carefully tailoring their product so as not to offend—or be the target of investigations.

The paper of record has a curiously difficult time reporting the 'Chinese espionage' case.

Single-payer healthcare is favored by the public, yet the insurance industry has too much to lose if it is enacted.

As Mexican president Vicente Fox begins his historic administration, the most difficult and abrasive issue that both he and the United States must confront is the continuing flow of immigration fr

John Ashcroft took office swearing on a stack of Bibles--on three of them, actually, one for each of his children--to run "a professional Justice Department that is free from politics." Sure.

Estrada is gone, but corruption remains.

Blogs

We all should mourn the deaths of Liu and Ramos—but that mourning doesn't mean we become less critical of the police as a violent and racist tool of oppression.

December 22, 2014

From the classrooms to the streets, the movement keeps growing.

December 22, 2014

Fighting for breath when police and media are declaring war against a peaceful movement could not be more pressing.

December 22, 2014

Ariyana Smith lay on the court for four and a half minutes before her team’s game on November 29. She did not know that she would be the first in a historic movement of athletes speaking out against police violence.

December 19, 2014

Walmart to pregnant women: choose between a healthy pregnancy and a job.

December 19, 2014

Katrina vanden Heuvel joins Stephen Colbert and friends for one last song.

December 19, 2014

What responsibilities do journalists have when reporting on sexual assault?

December 18, 2014

Instead of trying the key from the outside, as most critics of the right must, Colbert jiggled it from the inside, counterfeit though his key was.

December 18, 2014

A review of the Obama administration's deportation practices reveals flagrant disregard for the law, and even human life.

December 17, 2014

The history of US-Cuban relations in the last fifty-five years is the history of the loss of American prestige.

December 17, 2014