The artificial intelligence (AI) community has recently engaged in activism in relation to their employers, other members of the community, and their governments in order to shape the societal and ethical implications of AI. It has achieved some notable successes, but prospects for further political organising and activism are uncertain. We survey activism by the AI community over the last six years; apply two analytical frameworks drawing upon the literature on epistemic communities, and worker organising and bargaining; and explore what they imply for the future prospects of the AI community. Success thus far has hinged on a coherent shared culture, and high bargaining power due to the high demand for a limited supply of AI ‘talent’. Both are crucial to the future of AI activism and worthy of sustained attention.