Humanity is divided on Earth, but they are United in the Colonies. Well, in theory anyway. Following the First Martian Revolution, Mars and her smaller sister colonies have blossomed as symbols of peace and prosperity. With the establishment of the Interplanetary Trade Commission in 2086 in Bradbury, resources flow between the colonies on quantum calculated schedules. Basic needs are met by the ITC, food, water, housing, and base resources. Compilers enable everyone to produce consumer goods at home with nary a thought. Capitalism in the colonies is comfortable at the margins, driving entrepreneurs to build a steady economy. Great cities, erected during terraforming, housed over a billion people on Mars, and the first space elevators at New Richmond and Skyport bring in new people every day. The lush Margaritifer Lowlands and the Hesiod Gulf Colonies are home to the largest concentration of people, but the smaller pseudo-states (territories in the eyes of the US on Earth) can be found in pockets across the planet. Be they long time American citizens, fleeing Mexican expatriates looking to stay in their adopted country, or Eurasians and Africans just looking for a better life, Mars and the rest of the colonies have become the homes of a second wave of pioneers, refugees and heros.
With the Rosalind Amendment, and a rubber stamp of approval from Congress, the colonies had the sense of unity and inclusion that was essential to stave off civil war, while allowing Earth to worry about what is wrong with Earth… at least that was the plan anyway. In practice, the Rosalind Amendment became a way for Earth to dump any problems they didn’t want to deal with on the colonies. Many of those new residents were Mexican expatriates looking to avoid deportation to Mexico and Central America. In 2093 the Tel-bn people requested asylum after the near destruction of their species following a decades long nuclear conflict. The United States on Earth refused their claim for resettlement on Earth, but per the Rosalind Amendment, the colonies could oblige them. When Earth finds a new way to discriminate against some poor souls, they find their way to the colonies; when prisons are overcrowded, they find their way to the colonies; and when some backwards regime fails, and exile is the last option, they find their way to the colonies. Generally these problems are handled reasonably well. Prisoners and exiles, tend to look at life in the colonies as a clean start, and don’t fall back into bad habits as easily, and the colonies are often the birthplace for many subcultures Earth doesn’t approve of, so they’re happy to take in people considered just a little too odd for polite society on Earth. Washington’s problems are usually taken care of with minimal effort from Bradbury, its getting the capital to reciprocate that’s the problem.
The Guardiola Foundation, a radical anti-colony faction of the aristocratic Mediterranean Union, had been antagonizing the Earth-Luna colonies for many years. Banning the sale of goods imported from the colonies, publishing Terran nativist propaganda, and in some cases attacking civilian spacecraft. In early 2099, the Guardiolas staged a major series of strikes on several Lagrangian and Lunar colonies. Deploying armored infantrymen and support drones against civilian militias. When the colonial governments, resident commissioners and the ITC all called on the Federal Government for help, they were met with deaf ears. As the Mediterranians are an ally of Mexico, and the Guardiolas are only a rogue faction, the US government on Earth refused to get involved directly as it would drive the US and Mexico to war after concluding one in South America only a few years earlier. The colonies were on their own. Mars was quick to send volunteers from its Colonial Guard forces, and the outer planets were not far behind, but by the time reinforcements arrived to put down the Guardiolas, over 100,000 people had been killed in combat or from decompression. It was only from the pleads of the ITC commissioner, often known as “the Other President,” that the colonies did not strike the Guardiola stronghold in Catalonia. The US government, in a desire to save face with its colonies, who had now positioned a very angry force of some 20,000 seasoned space warriors in orbit above Earth, launched a coordinated strike on the Guardiola Foundation’s headquarters, and issued joint warrants with the MU and Mexico for the arrest of its surviving members. This got the colonies to stand down, but they would not forget the betrayal by their own government.