The News’ March 1 article, “Communist group disrupts Timothy Snyder’s lecture, forces evacuation,” is a misleading portrayal of our intervention and our reasons for doing so in these urgent times.

A group of revolutionary communists, also known as Revcoms, and I marched into Professor Snyder’s “Hitler, Stalin, Us” class and announced “No class as usual today — we are in a state of emergency.” 

We did not announce “no class.” We didn’t force anyone to go anywhere, much less to “evacuate,” which would imply danger. No one’s safety was put at risk, contrary to various online comments off the News’ article that we were threatening Professor Snyder.  

Our goal was to open up debate, not shout down Professor Snyder. We boldly issued our challenge to debate the past and future of the communist revolution, an invitation I’d personally delivered months ago, as the News noted. He ducked the challenge and the issues raised, including why he hasn’t condemned U.S. support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza — while at the same time he continues to drum up support for America’s proxy war with imperialist rival Russia over Ukraine. As for the claim that the Revcoms did “not engage in any sort of discussion,” some students did stay in the classroom, and a principled, substantive dialogue followed.

The News included a few quotes from me in the latter part of the article after framing the issue in terms of “evacuation” and “shouting” people down. But the article did not convey what motivated our emergency intervention: the immediate, extreme crises humanity faces — from Gaza to the stripping away of women’s reproductive rights, to looming Trump fascism, possible nuclear war over Ukraine, and a climate crisis careening towards catastrophe.  

The debate over the dangers humanity faces, and their real solution, is urgently needed — and the News can play an important role in fostering this. This is all the more important given the Yale administration’s vague restrictions on our presence on campus, despite promoting an “open campus” that protects speech and nurtures critical thinking. If the university acts to curb our presence, it would again shut down any debate over a real alternative outside the “acceptable discourse” of the current political and economic order.

RAYMOND LOTTA is an advocate for the new communism of Bob Avakian. Lotta has written and lectured extensively on the Russian and Chinese revolutions. He’s the spokesperson for Revolution Books, New York City. Contact him at: