Cramer Misquotes Lenin, Too


By Matthew Yglesias

Not only is it mighty odd of Jim Cramer to be getting outraged about Barack Obama saying things Obama never said but I don’t think he knows very much about Lenin:

Let me tell you something, we heard Lenin. There was a little snippet last week that was, ‘Now is not the time for profits.’ Look – in Lenin’s book, ‘What Is to Be Done?’ is simple text of what I always though was for the communists, it was remarkable to hear very similar language from ‘What Is to Be Done?’ which is we have no place for profits.

To reiterate, Obama did not say “Now is not the time for profits.” But I’m pretty sure Lenin didn’t say it either. In my copy of “What is to be Done?” the word profit appears only once, in a totally different context:

The failure of the enterprise merely showed that the Social-Democrats of that period were unable to meet the immediate requirements of the time owing to their lack of revolutionary experience and practical training. This must be said, too, with regard to the S. Peterburgsky Rabochy Listok and particularly with regard to Rabochaya Gazeta and the Manifesto of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party, founded in the spring of 1898. Of course, we would not dream of blaming the Social Democrats of that time for this unpreparedness. But in order to profit from the experience of that movement, and to draw practical lessons from it, we must thoroughly understand the causes and significance of this or that shortcoming.

Indeed, despite the cool title “What is to be Done?” is a book on the not-very-interesting question of the tactical problems facing the Russian Socialist Party in 1901.