Cassandra Devereaux, Peace and Freedom Party candidate for California State Assembly in district 14, weighs in on the PG&E monopoly’s tyrannical stranglehold on Northern California citizens and communities. The following piece originally ran on

On Tuesday, October 9, Pacific Gas & Electric, the publicly traded monopoly that supplies most of Northern California’s power needs, announced that they would be shutting off power for much of their service area due to the risk of wildfire posed by dryness, heat and high winds. These shutoffs would affect over 800,000 of their customers.

This announcement came scant weeks after the utility settled the second batch in a series of claims against it brought by insurers for its culpability in the wildfires that destroyed millions of acres over the past few years.

The night of the announcement, supermarkets were flocked by anxious shoppers preparing for the outage. Californians who were unsure whether they would be in an affected neighborhood frantically tried to get information from PG&E’s website, but their gravely overburdened servers made connecting impossible much of the time. As dread and fear spread, PG&E workers prepared to turn out the lights. Executives, however were otherwise busy; they were enjoying fine wine and decadent hors d’oeuvres at an exclusive Sonoma County winery in a modern analogue of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

PG&E’s self-interest is matched by callous disregard for the people under their thumb, forced to pay them in exchange for electricity and gas. They neglected their budget devoted to routine maintenance and such measures as trimming trees around power lines in order to pay investors $4.5 billion in stock dividends. It was chided for lack of upkeep by a judge at a hearing related to a lethal 2010 gas line explosion. This judge threatened to deny them their ability to pay dividends should they continue to neglect such upkeep. It is now clear that this has had no effect on them. But then, a privately owned utility holding a monopoly puts it in the role of hostage taker, and is rendered essentially above the law. It is a chilling case of capitalism’s ethos: Profits for the powerful before people.

San Francisco sought escape from beneath the heel of PG&E by offering a bid to buy their own power grid, but PG&E was not interested in granting this freedom from it’s feudal-like domination. Meanwhile, the effect of this outage on their “serfs” has been profound. The LA Times reports people afraid of loved ones dying for lack of such basic necessities such as machines to aid respiration, as well as inability to refill dearly needed medicine, and others going into debt buying batteries and other commodities to keep these machines running. One man dependent on a respiratory machine died 12 minutes after the power was cut, although the coroner denies this was related to the power outage.

By Sunday, after five days in the dark for some, all power had been restored. CEO Bill Johnson commented, “I think the operational piece of this – turning the power off, turning it on – went very well.” He further denied a suggestion from California’s Public Utilities Commission that this was a power move to fight back against their punitive measures due to the company’s culpability in wildfires, while promising future shutoffs under similar environmental conditions.

Capitalism tends toward monopoly, and this outage is a perfect example of how late capitalism places the people at the mercy of our current ruling class. This class is that of the very billionaires on whose services we depend, a dictatorship of capitalists. Only when this rule is deposed and the working class holds the levers of power will we be able to completely forge our own destinies. Until then, the public good will be at the mercy of billionaires who wine and dine while the working class scrambles to survive their whims. The only comfort in this episode is very cold indeed for those who survived without power: PG&E is unable to charge them for the time they spent in the dark.

It is unconscionable that people are at the mercy of private utilities’ billionaire CEOs and board members. While responsible for the ravages of climate catastrophe and resulting wildfires, these same parasites refuse to spend the money needed to avert the disasters they continuously leave in their wake in order to get even more money for themselves and their cronies. This is a state of affairs that can and will be destroyed as we join as one to control production under our own ownership for our common good. This is a revolutionary project and will require solidarity between the people who do the work of the world. We can and will win this fight, and the time to start is today.

–written by Cassandra Devereaux

Latest news

Random Image

Election 2024

Get your voice heard in Election 2024 – vote Peace & Freedom and the Left Unity Slate!

The California statewide primary election of March 5, 2024, includes first-round elections for political offices at all levels of government in the leadup to November's general election. Keep up with all the news regarding  Peace & Freedom Party and Left Unity Slate candidates as well as PFP's stands on ballot props and other items on the ballot.

the PFP Workers’ Voters Guide (PDF)

PFP says Vote NO on Prop 1!

Vote Kevin Martinez for CA State Assembly (6th district)

PFP Election 2024 campaign news

Support PFP

Support our campaigns! 

Donate to the Peace and Freedom Party by clicking the PayPal link -- PayPal membership is not required.

To send contributions via post, checks or money orders may be sent to:

Peace & Freedom Party
P.O. Box 24764
Oakland, CA 94623

PFP Inform List

 Join the PFP Inform List!

Get information on party activities and positions.  Please sign up if you would like to get notices, letting you know about party campaigns and candidates, new positions and coalitions, and the availability of resources. 

Click here to sign up!

PFP Archive

Want to travel back in time?

For a complete online archive of the Peace & Freedom Party's official website with content published from 2008-2020, just click the logo at right.

In California, voter registration is very important to political parties. The very existence of a political party as “ballot-qualified” is determined by the number of votes its statewide candidates receive or by the number of voters registered with the party. As the only feminist socialist political party on the California ballot, it is imperative that the Peace and Freedom Party continues as a qualified party.

Quite simply, the Peace and Freedom Party will not be able to provide Californians with candidates that will represent us unless we register and vote Peace and Freedom.

For all the information you need on registering to vote, visit the California Secretary of State's homepage at or just click here.

Thank you for registering Peace and freedom Party, and thank you for your vote!




Cookie policy

You may have noticed that the Peace and Freedom Party official website contains no warnings about cookies. The reason for this is simple: we will never ever record user information temporarily or permanently. Further, we will never use cookies to “personalize content”, to “provide social media features” or to analyze website traffic. PFP will never share information about your use of our site with anyone for any purpose.