Slab City, by its own estimate “the last free place in America,” is part homeless camp, part hippie commune, part anarcho-autonomous group, part artist enclave, and part squatter community. And the descriptors are all true. It’s home to war vets, artists, drifters, stoners, tweakers, “dirty kids,” and lots of self-proclaimed weirdoes. They’re united because they have all dropped out of the striated grid of American society, whether by acts of resistance—reaction to the yoke of bourgeois lifestyles, for instance—or by dire necessity.
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Formerly a World War II barracks called Camp Dunlap, Slab City takes its name from the concrete foundations that were left behind after the Marine Corps abandoned the area in 1965. Considered to be commercially useless, the roughly 500 acres that Slab City occupies have been ignored by its absentee landlord, the California State Land Commission, for the past five decades. In a government-oversight vacuum, a community of about 150 perennial residents (and up to 3,000 peregrinating snowbirds, tourists, and transients) live and squat free, albeit without power, sewerage, or sanitation services. The resulting landscape is imbued with truly remarkable flourishes of beauty—and post-apocalyptic flashes, too.
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From Slab City in Issue 6: Mojave / story by @gennyallison images by @howlcollective of @stocksy #CQmojave
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  • collectivequarterlySlab City, by its own estimate “the last free place in America,” is part homeless camp, part hippie commune, part anarcho-autonomous group, part artist enclave, and part squatter community. And the descriptors are all true. It’s home to war vets, artists, drifters, stoners, tweakers, “dirty kids,” and lots of self-proclaimed weirdoes. They’re united because they have all dropped out of the striated grid of American society, whether by acts of resistance—reaction to the yoke of bourgeois lifestyles, for instance—or by dire necessity.

    Formerly a World War II barracks called Camp Dunlap, Slab City takes its name from the concrete foundations that were left behind after the Marine Corps abandoned the area in 1965. Considered to be commercially useless, the roughly 500 acres that Slab City occupies have been ignored by its absentee landlord, the California State Land Commission, for the past five decades. In a government-oversight vacuum, a community of about 150 perennial residents (and up to 3,000 peregrinating snowbirds, tourists, and transients) live and squat free, albeit without power, sewerage, or sanitation services. The resulting landscape is imbued with truly remarkable flourishes of beauty—and post-apocalyptic flashes, too.

    From Slab City in Issue 6: Mojave / story by @gennyallison images by @howlcollective of @stocksy #CQmojave

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