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The term 'commie' is a slur (so get used to it, you fucking pinko). It is frequently associated with red-baiting, and specifically with McCarthyism. As red-baiters would have it, anyone who has ever been a member of a communist party or a member of known communist front group is a commie; anyone who has proclaimed themselves to be a communist is also a commie. The more vaguely defined 'communist sympathizers' are generally considered to be fellow travelers (or useful idiots), and are not included here.