by Rob Ross
December 18th, 2014
VERY interesting and intriguing historic look at the Positive Force organization, which began in Nevada, but has thrived and stayed the course in Washington D.C. from 1985 onward. Led by D.C. co-founder Mark Andersen, Positive Force ran parallel to the socially conscious punk movement (the majority of bands recorded for Dischord Records), which by 1985 had begun to widen its spectrum and become, itself, more politicized. The rawness of the punk anger and ethos began to be pointing toward constructivity, rather than negativity and destruction, and found itself moving in a socially, morally and politically upward (and left-leaning) direction. As seen in the documentary from director Robin Bell, Positive Force acts upon its words with deeds – from delivering groceries to those in need (especially the elderly) to holding benefit concerts to raise money for various causes, to orchestrating protests.
This documentary is filled with news footage and interviews from the participants themselves – D.C. founder/director Mark Andersen, Dischord’s Ian MacKaye, Dave Grohl from Scream, Jenny Toomey from Simple Machines and Positive Force and so on – and at no time does it come off as being preachy or biased. It is an honest and direct look at a group of people that have actually done good – “talked the talk and walked the walk” so to speak – and continue to do so to this day.
It isn’t often one has the chance to see and hear something so refreshing and meaningful without feeling preached at – Positive Force: More Than A Witness; 25 Years Of Punk Politics In Action is worth the time invested in watching.