In 1931, Samuel Morrowa devout Christianformed the People's Collective in the American Midwest. Realizing that the fledgling Collective was in danger of economic collapse (90% of the population was in some form of debt), he voided all loans and mortgages of the People, and declared Socialism the truest form of Christianity.
Federalist troops from Washington, D.C. (under Presidential orders) attempted to regain control of the Collective. (Ironically, these troops were largely supplied by business interests in Chicago and New York, one of the few times that these bitter rivals would agree on anything). Morrows people fought off Federal troops and the Collective found itself isolated and surrounded by enemies.
The one potential ally among the disunited states was Utah, also a Christian nation, but any hope of an alliance was crushed by Jonathan "Ghengis" Kahn, a Chicago-based pirate who struck inside Utah, stealing a military airshipthe Moronibefore entering the People's Collective. Once inside the Collective, Khan initiated a series of raids that he claimed were under a Utah-issued Letter of Marque. A Utah-Collective war was very nearly the result; in the chaos that followed the "Moroni Incident," Khan managed to slip back into the ISA. Although these facts quickly came out, the rift between the People's Collective and Utah remains.
The following years saw border clashes between the Collective and the Industrial States of America (in 1932 and 1936), and periodic troubles along the Collective-Oklahoma borders. Texas Air Rangers occasionaly cross the border for "target practice" on Collective farmers, although no formal hostilities have been declared.
The most lucrative industry in the Peoples Collective is agriculture. Since the Collective occupies territory that was once the bread basket of the Untied States, it continues to export food and other agricultural products throughout North America. (The Collectives government tends to increase prices to nations that are politically opposed to it, however.) The Collective also conducts a large amount of trade with other Socialist nations, mainly through Canadian provinces; recently, however, the Collective severed all ties to the Red Russian elements in Alaska. (A nation of devout Christians, the citizens of the Peoples Collective are appalled by the confirmed atheism of the Bolsheviks.)
The Collective lacks air cargo capacity, and is working hard to catch its zeppelin production up to the People's needs. In fact, the Collective lacks air power of all kinds, relying on a handful of Defender and new Defiant fighters to protect the vast expanses of the People's land. Although the Socialist nation's borders are now well fortified against overland invasion, air power remains woefully inadequate, inviting piracy from all corners.