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Slab City: The last free place in America | VT Docs

Slab City itself is dubbed as the last
free place in America
people are friendly except when they’re
yeah it’s insanity to move say yeah when
I live there I want to live where the
conditions are harsh there’s no ways to
find food or water
no that’s insanity
it’s simple natural law anything can
my name is Aaron and I live in Slab City
Came out for this one event
and fell for the place and I stayed I
guess just the freedom
give artists a place to have the freedom to do art as
they see fit
you don’t want to go there
it’s an active bombing range
it was originally a military base called Camp Dunlap
the military pulled out and left
a bunch of concrete slabs and nothing else
around 1952 is when it became slab
city and people started camping here and
squatting here now there’s a community
that goes between 200 and 2,000 people
it means I can come here and squat here
and and build a fence around a little
piece of desert and live here oh people
will come here just to get out be different
no one pays rent it’s more you
contribute as a whole to the collective
as a whole to make sure that everyone
here can survive throughout the year
sometimes I worry about the people here
coz you know we get a lot of people who
fall through the cracks here you could
you know potentially get shot here it
happens there’s no law done you cannot
do this or you cannot do that people you
know burn other people’s houses down if
you don’t have a house or a dwelling
space especially in summer you’re like
totally screwed because you know it’s
it’s an extreme environment I think
that’s the resort that happens when this
person is sufficiently upset a majority
of the slab community it’s do as thou
will but cause no harm if what you’re
doing is causing harm to no one then
there shouldn’t be a problem with it
yeah scrap fence is always fun I did this as more of an art piece this is our scrap pile here
sometimes you’ve just got to smash something to feel better about your day
I’m Cornelius Vango
I live at and run slab city library some
of the things that uh I got sick of in
society is just people over complicating
things all the time
you know making making simple things
like just existing a big fucking hassle
when I go into the city I feel really
small I feel like a tiny little nobody
and when I’m out in the wilderness I
feel like a frickin you know like a
proud beast like a grizzly bear or some
you know like I am in the master of my
domain and I have the freedom to take
things into my own hands I saved up and
bought a shotgun because I wasn’t sure
like how lawless it was uh I’ve never
had to shoot anybody with it but you
know I I just wanted to be safe so I I
got my shotgun and they came down here
and I found out that the library was
here and it had been abandoned for a
long time and was in
disrepair so I moved in
the television will not be revolutionized so this
here’s my personal favorite piece it was
initially built well losing my hat it
was initially built and used the
backdrop of a stage didn’t it was 15 TVs
and it was very impressive when we built
it up there and so we brought them out
here and we stacked them all up and it
ceased to be very impressive it was just
small we tell people if you got a TV you
want to get rid of please bring it down
we’re not even gonna ask where you got it
this is cinnabar charm this belonged to
our founder Charlie he decorated with
around 20,000 individual objects he did
all this himself we used to ask him
where he found time to do all this stuff
always his answer was I’ve got 24 usable
hours in the day same as any one of you
it’s also as you can see the first
church of the chocolate martini tenets
of the first church of the chocolate
martini make a thing do big fun get more
laid rise and infect so right here we
have the mammoth the mammoth’s actual name
is definition of a grievance but we just
call it the mammoth East Jesus is as our
founder Charlie Russell explained an
experimental habitable artwork in
anyone who knew that wanted to art and
just didn’t have a good outlet for it
that was his whole idea of East Jesus
being that outlet
I came for camping free camping
for a while and then truck ran out of gas
and decided to stay I can have my own
camp ground my little corner
drop there my old van and just let
it there rust and make a little room out
of it and I can crash there you know
there’s there there’s no regulation and
the city will not come the town will not
come and tell you that you cannot build
that you cannot put that there I don’t
know maybe I’ll turn this into a
meditation room but then I keep adding
outside or bringing I want to build a
pond and just fill it up with water so I
don’t have to take the dogs to the pond
I just can’t come there maybe a rock
garden a little I don’t know something
something that I something that I can
even get inside in the water you know
freedom it’s a state of mind
I believe freedom of not paying not having to
have to live among a lot of people or
congregating in a big city
maybe that’s freedom for me so I live by
myself here and when I want to talk to
somebody then I go and visit and look who I
got in here finally he’s tied up
and he still laughing smiling I got
the bunny you see variety of characters
characters welcome slab city characters
welcome that’s what it should be written
out there dewey
yeah you want to come up here with me
every county should have a slab city
every county at least and every every
metropolis should have a this should be
a community where people can go and live
within their means and that’s what I do
basically now but I have enough my solar
I’m buying on credit from solar Mike who
was kind enough to trust me to make
payments this is my favorite sitting
place in the evening and this is my
favorite sitting place in the morning
and this is my dog bath well I just put
this fence up just recently because
people will walk through right through
your yard and steal from you this is my
bus actually it’s not my bus I’m just
taking care of it for sandy the artist
that used to be used to be her art sandy
was a sweetheart
older lady she wanted everybody to be
happy she was a musician she didn’t make
very much money on her social security
but she would have like a every Tuesday
night a music venue here and we would
all come for hotdogs and coffee she
liked the pastel pink colors she liked
to drink wine and dance at the at the
range so anyway she painted half of this
for about a third of it and then she
passed away and so some people who were
camping here after her watching the camp
taking care of it for the family
they finished the paint job in her style
I still haven’t cleaned out a lot of
Sandy’s stuff but anyway I’m really
grateful that I could have this little
spot you know to squat on and
put a few things here and and have a
place I can just feel comfortable pretty
comfortable and safe it’s a place where
people can come and find a refuge you
know they can build whatever they want
to build here not a bunch of like
lawless rebels it’s people that just
kind of got got sick of not fitting in with society
the real Slab City I think is
it’s an acceptance of people or people
that get stuck you know that they’ve
come to camp for a while and then truck
breaks down there’s no enough funds to
fix it or get into another one of them
you decide to stay and just get insane
like them slab city last free place and
it is so far we’re gonna keep it that
way if we can
are we really free if in order to do
what we want we have to live in the
middle of the frickin desert where it’s
extremely hot because there’s nowhere
else left for people like us to be I
mean I guess yeah if that’s freedom then
we are free here

Randall Smitham



  1. William Passfield Posted on November 5, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Where is God's house?

  2. Bjorn Welboren Posted on November 6, 2017 at 12:47 am


  3. William Black Posted on November 6, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Went there for training. Fucking slabites.

  4. peashooter101 Posted on November 6, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Society haters that want "freedom," happily choosing to live in a far away, tax free, mini 3rd world country that probably smells of cat piss…

    Honestly, I think everyone wins here

  5. Marcel Lutz Posted on November 6, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Nice little Shanty Town for Societies Dropouts who leach of the System they so vehemently oppose. Sounds so appealing, when you own Nothing, have no Police or Justice to speak of, everything around you is painted and glued-on Junk and you run the Risk of your mentally unstable Neighbours burning your Shack down or shooting you outright for a Bottle of Wodka or a Pack of Cigarettes. What a great City, never felt more motivated in my Live to make something of myself so I dont end up in such dire living conditions ; P

  6. jwka2001 Posted on November 6, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I bet these people give great side missions in Fallout

  7. 13345bob Posted on November 7, 2017 at 12:07 am

    We did it

    We have achieved real communism

  8. Laughing At You Posted on November 7, 2017 at 1:05 am

    The freedom to get shot to death in the middle of a desert over a beer can.

  9. Alexander Kennedy Posted on November 7, 2017 at 1:30 am


    The "freedom" to get tetanus from your rusty lawn chair,
    To burn down each others homes, because fuck it they have nothing to live for beyond minimal survival.
    All whilst leaching of the comfortable and safe society just around the corner.

  10. Jake Mattews Posted on November 7, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Freedom? more like parasites or virus contaminating the planet, Idiots without souls….

  11. FPG Plant & Animal Sanctuary - Kenn Andersen Posted on November 7, 2017 at 5:37 am


  12. TheWordHunter Posted on November 7, 2017 at 5:44 am

    Win win, you live out in the desert and ill live here in civilazation.

  13. Atlas44130 Posted on November 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Why are most of the people here so judgemental? What's your problem with them experimenting other ways of living? It's like you justify the fact that you couldn't live there, well, nobody asked you to leave your comfort, just don't judge those who do.

  14. Discord Posted on November 7, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Free people but yet they need to get money and food 4 miles away at civilization… hmmm, not real free is it? Just lazy leeches

  15. Logician Posted on November 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    I think… i know where all the hoarders went. Art does not have a limite yet, a can of poo is still a can of poo no matter how many who say its art.

  16. Daniel Frost Posted on November 7, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    I support this. Every Bernie Sanders voter should have to live here for a few years to see what their voting for.

  17. TheMFICF Posted on November 7, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I wonder how do they get their food.

  18. EXOdagr8t Posted on November 7, 2017 at 6:36 pm


  19. Chelly Mccoy Posted on November 7, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I would live here to learn how to live without electricity and all that other stuff,because when something happens like we all lose electricity and people struggle to survive I want to know what to do at that moment to survive

  20. Crystal Logik Posted on November 9, 2017 at 10:53 am

    They're taking a giant shit on the environment for a start.

  21. Atlas44130 Posted on November 9, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    It's maybe because I'm not american but I just don't understand why you have to speak like that. Is it a bad habit or something? I mean, you guys are insulting everybody who disagrees with you and using words you don't measure the impact of. I've seen people doing the same thing in french comments but most of the time it's because they're 14… Is it the same everywhere? Do you hate people that much that you actually want them to "kill themselves" or do you actually think they have "no souls"? Basically do you realise the meaning of the words you're using?

  22. Jan Henrik Liverød Posted on November 9, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    so why dont anyone go down there and shoot em all 😛 come back to normal society and ur free to go?

  23. Shane Shrimp Posted on November 10, 2017 at 12:35 am

    "theres no ways to find food or water" "anarchy" "you could get shot here" "people burn other peoples houses down" choose a better place to go bro

  24. Heather Ann Posted on November 10, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Bunch of hateful people with hate and anger in their hearts. I'm sure you're all so incredibly perfect. So brave of you to get on social media and bully people. How dumb. Grow up. The new American Way, where everyone thinks their opinion matters and they are always right. Ha!!! Leave people alone already. They arent hurting any of you. Poof begone before a house drops on you! To the Slab community you have a world of people that support you!!! Delete the negative comments!! And let it roll of your shoulders. Haters are gonna hate!! God bless you all!! ❤

  25. SoundSpark Posted on March 2, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    lol, it's only a "free city" cause no one is dumb enough to live there.

  26. Adirondaque Posted on June 19, 2018 at 6:27 am

    If you ever visit, be ready to have hard drugs on hand to not be shot on sight.

  27. Brandon Contreras Posted on June 19, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Just a homeless camp in the desert filled with a bunch of hippie liberals that say fuck society and the government and just have massive orgies. Can’t wait until the national guard rolls in and shits on their little “freedom” parade.

  28. DrakeTheBadgerman Posted on June 20, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Looks like a fun place to cosplay raiders. Lets all go and put the place to the sword.

  29. Jake Anthony Posted on June 23, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Haha lawless? Cops drive through all the time!

  30. Divine Hazard Posted on June 24, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Now try this with internet.

  31. SW Sweetie Posted on July 28, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    2:42 You're not going to "feel better about your day" when a shard of glass ricochets into your eye.

  32. sqweezel Posted on August 4, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    How does it feel, to be on your own, like a rolling stone….

  33. Thomas Fruge Posted on August 14, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    I can relate to the feelings these people have about today's society. As many struggle make it and the homeless situation grows in our country.I understand why they choose to live the way they do. It's about having true unrestraint freedom. Not this lie most people have grown to except .

  34. surfacingtacit Posted on September 10, 2018 at 10:41 am

    I'm just confused as to how they wash and if their "toilet" is just behind a bush somewhere. I assume they have to buy or collect water from elsewhere as they're in a dessert. The lack of basic utilities would deter me from living there. I'm too accustomed to having water on tap and using an actual toilet to poop instead of spraying all over the floor.

  35. It's Dark Posted on September 24, 2018 at 1:09 am

    I kind of want to move there to be honest…

  36. Suede Trombone Posted on September 26, 2018 at 7:58 am

    2:43 Yeah, its not like those bottles could be useful for anything. No no, its better if we make the garbage heaps even more hazardous than they already are.

    You know, you could get those same endorphins going if you did something that was actually productive. That way you wouldnt have to break shit at random intervals. And do you know whats worse about living there and needlessly breaking things? Not being able to fucking fix it afterwards.

    This is what happens when youve literally got nothing else better to do, people: People who play with garbage to provide themselves with meaning. Truly sad.

  37. My Name Posted on October 25, 2018 at 9:49 am

    looks like a bunch of rabble living on a shit heap, the only thing these people are resisting is hard work.

  38. Coyote Lightning Posted on December 12, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    lmao a communist shithole, thanks for showing it