POSITIVE/NEGATIVE FORCE

THANKS FOR THE ATTENTION YOUR beautifully photographed article of December 9 brought to the ideas and activities of Positive Force {"Punk Is Beautiful"}. Sadly, Todd Kliman's article is full of factual errors and condescension and, ultimately, gives a fantastically misleading impression of our work, our ideas and, most of all, our personalities.

First of all, Todd misspells the names of four members of our group (the correct spellings are Kevin Mattson, Sonia, Kristin Thomson and Larry Keitz, not Kevin Matsen, Sonya, Kristen Thompson and Larry Keats). Larry joined the group in 1985, not 1987. I did not write the essay "Jesus Was a Commie Punk" for a class at the University of Montana -- I wrote it here in 1987. As a matter of fact, I never even went to the University of Montana; I went to Montana State University. Nor did I go to George Washington University -- I moved to D.C. in 1984 (not '85) to attend the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Todd also recounts an entirely incorrect early history of the Positive Force house -- neither Kevin nor any other "anarchists" lived there with me, as the house was not founded until 1987, well after most of the original PF members had left the group. Although the Lords of the New Church did have a song called "New Church," the song that inspired me was by the Adverts.

Although you could be excused for thinking otherwise after reading Todd's article, Positive Force is NOT a religious group. While I have personal spiritual convictions that help guide my life, no one in PF necessarily shares my beliefs. Some PF members would even deny the value of spiritual concepts at all. There is no Positive Force theological line. Nor is there any PF "party line" forbidding meat-eating, drinking or other drug use -- indeed, there are many group members or supporters who do any or all of these. The fact that they do makes them no less a part of Positive Force. Although Todd puts them in my mouth and mind, the words "unrepentant," "poseur," "putrid," et. al. are NOT mine, and what they represent -- righteous, judgmental elitism -- is not what Positive Force is about AT ALL. MARK ANDERSEN Arlington I VERY MUCH APPRECIATED TODD KLIman's article on Positive Force. It provided an excellent interpretation of what Positive Force has become: a naive, self-righteous and stagnant organization. Since I am mentioned as an originator of Positive Force, I would like to clarify certain points about the group's devel- opment.

Positive Force did not originate solely with Mark Andersen, nor was it a group house. In fact, most of the original organizers were not punks but rather socially aware high school students who were searching for a new political vision and activism in light of current issues and the general demise of the New Left. We wanted an organization for young people potentially scared off by older activists. We did not envision PF as a punk group. I was not the only person to quit due to disillusionment with the group; many of us thought it had degenerated into a punk rock clique that was dominated by Andersen and was too caught up in "expressive" protest (music) that accomplished little or nothing.

Positive Force now occludes the need for young people to rigorously study their political, social and cultural history; generate a vision that does not succumb to the easy answers of self-righteous "political correctness"; and struggle for a vibrant public life and participatory democracy. Kliman's article showed that good intentions are not enough. KEVIN MATTSON Rochester, N.Y. A UNIVERSAL MUNICIPAL CURE

KUDOS FOR DAVID OSBORNE'S PRE- scription for healthy government {"Ten Ways to Turn D.C. Around," December 9}. Mr. Osborne's formula would be equally effective in any of our suburban jurisdictions, which share many of D.C.'s ills, as has been made evident by the current economic malaise.

If all of our elected and appointed officials followed the Osborne Regimen, government by the government, for the government and of the government might yet perish and return some power to the people. ERIC E. ZICHT Leesburg, Va.

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