The "Occupy Wall Street" movement's political breakthrough came Wednesday as leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus joined Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in endorsing the burgeoning national challenge to corporate greed and corrupt politics.
On a day that saw thousands of union members, community activists and supporters of New York's Working Families Party rally in solidarity with the New York protests, Congressman John Larson, the Connecticut Democrat who is the fourth-ranking member of the party's House Caucus, announced, "The silent masses aren't so silent anymore."
Of the demonstrators, Larson said, "They are fighting to give voice to the struggles that everyday Americans are going through."
Not surprisingly, it was Sanders who offered the most full-throated support of the movement. At the Campaign for America's Future "Take Back America" conference, he declared: "We have the "crooks' on Wall Street, and I use that word advisedly -- don't misquote me, the word is "crooks' -- whose greed, whose recklessness, whose illegal behavior caused this terrible recession with so much suffering. We believe in this country; we love this country; and we will be damned if we're going to see a handful of robber barons control the future of this country."
Remarkably, considering the caution of so many elected officials with regard to the protests, Sanders actually called for a toughening the movement's anti-Wall Street message. "I applaud those protesters who are out there, who are focusing attention on Wall Street, but what we've got to do is put meat on that bone," he said. "We've got to make demands on Wall Street (and) break those institutions up."