Thursday, March 5, 2015

“Positive Force: More Than A Witness - 30 Years Of Punk Politics In Action” DVD (director: Robin Bell)

Enlightening and inspiring punk doc

The punk music scene has evolved into a fully-established family tree, with branches drifting away from the original sprout in often surprising and diverse fashions. The nihilism of progenitors like the Sex Pistols or Stooges eventually became a lame stereotype, so punks (particularly ones in Washington DC), partially inspired by the anarchist ideology of English band Crass, became “positive”. This film is a lovingly rendered documentary of the Positive Force movement, spearheaded by the Discord Records roster of artists, and most often associated with Ian MacKaye and Minor Threat/Fugazi, who paved a lot of ground for angry, politically, and socially aware punks.

Director Bell brings together loads of pertinent artists, activists, and musicians here, often with slightly different ideologies, but united to make change. It sounds corny and idealistic, but these are people who are fighting for our own rights, confronting issues like racism, homophobia, homelessness, poverty, war, corporate and government corruption, animal rights, and environmental conservation. Positive Force has been and still is driving change like few others. 

This feature-length DVD (which includes a wealth of bonus short films and live performances) boasts of rare music clips, as well as footage both old and new to illustrate the grass-roots movement that Positive Force has driven for 30 years now. Of course, names like Fugazi, Bikini Kill, Nation Of Ulysses, Rites Of Spring, Jello Biafra, Dave Grohl, Ted Leo, Kathleen Hanna, and many more appear here, so you know there are good things going on.

In short, this is a superb document of a movement that may not garner a lot of media attention (naturally), yet is an essential component of our homegrown American music scene. Support work like this, and give this cause a boost, as it can make a serious difference in all of our lives. Word.

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