Our vision is...

... a democratic, diverse and peaceful world free from alcohol and other drugs where every individual
can live up to her full potential.
For more than 20 years Active and its member organizations have been working for getting closer to this vision, step by step, seminar by seminar, summar camp by summar camp, Transit issue by Transit issue, congress by congress. And I think Active and all its members can take pride in saying that we have accomplished a great deal over the years.

Right now, for example, there are young people from all over Europe gathering in Berlin to take yet another step; they together will make the world more diverse and peaceful, create - for the eternity of 7 days - a safe, stimulating and tolerant environment for young people to be nobody but themselves.

"To be nobody but yourself
in a world which is doing its best, night
and day, to make you verybody else,
means to fight the hardest battle, which
any human being can fight, and never
stop fighting."

I ask myself often how alcohol policy actually can contribute to Active's quest for a more democratic, diverse and peaceful world? And the short poem by E.E. Cummings can, I think, give one answer. I stumbled over this poem while watching a teen soap opera from the USA. Yeah, really! And to my astonishment, I even started liking the series and continued watching. It's about basketball and contains many inspiring quotes, poems and monologues. It also contains a lot of alcohol, loads of alcohol actually. And not once is there not violence, anger, hatred, conflict connected to alcohol.We live in an intoxicating culture, a culture that makes it so difficult for Active and its members to make the world more peaceful, more diverse, more democratic.

It is this that we've got to understand: alcohol is an obstacle, maybe the obstacle for young people to live in a better world. Every inspiring poem is embedded into a culture of intoxication; every feeling of freedom is pressed through the narrow, choking openings of alcoholic beverages; every experience of MYSELF is made through the veil of a substance. Thus it is a aramount challenge for young people to be truly be THEMSELVES.

Active manages to provide environments for young people free from alcohol totalitarianism; we're doing it right now in Berlin in an international atmosphere; but also all the time somehwere in Sweden, Norway, Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Switzerland, Rumania, Macedonia, Turkey and so many other places in Europe.Alcoholpolicy is one more way for Active to support young people in being THEMSELVES and alcoholpolicy is important because the alcohol industry doesn't want young people to be themselves. Beer, wine and spirits industries want young people to believe and worship their indoctrination and live like Hollywood stars, like some made-believe popular peers and artificially hyped celebrities. The alcohol industry surely doesn't want a diverse world. The alcohol industry sure as hell doesn't want critically thinking young people. The alcohol industry is part of that world E.E. Cummings writes about, which tries night and day to make each individual like everybody else.

We need to fight alcohol marketing, and the lies of their Corporate Social Responsibility - and this is what Active's alcohol policy does.And we need to address politicians and the world they are creating: an intoxicating world, where you have to stay away from parties because the grown-ups want to drink their alcohol, where you can't feel safe in the streets after sundown because of drunkeness. The grown-ups have created a world for us that is uniform. We learn to drink, what and how to drink earlier than we learn about voting, about reading political party programmes. Alcohol policy's task is it to tell it and tell the grown-up world our solutions.

So, alcoholpolicy plays an important role in the fight of Active to support young people in Europe to be nobody other than the person he or she chooses to be; plays a role in pushing back the assaults of the world trying to make every young person similar; is crucial in fighting for more environments that provide opportunities for critical thinking where young people can thrive in true diversity and experienced peace.There need to be more Berlin seminars and they need to happen all the time!

This is what Active works for and alcohol policy is part of that mission.

Maik Duennbier

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